Home » Rishi Sunak faces mass exodus as more than 75 MPs resign in poll-bound UK

Rishi Sunak faces mass exodus as more than 75 MPs resign in poll-bound UK

London: Several more Conservative lawmakers announced on Friday they would not seek re-election at the forthcoming UK general election, setting a post-war record for the number of Tory MPs standing down.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has seen a growing exodus from his party ahead of the July 4 vote, with 75 Conservatives now announcing that they are retiring from parliament.

That is more than the previous post-1945 high of 72 who quit prior to Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide win for Labour, which is expected to triumph again this year.

The departures add to a feeling that the Conservatives are on track to be kicked out of power after 14 years, although Labour require a big swing to secure a majority in parliament.

“Bionic MP” Craig Mackinlay, who returned to parliament this week with prosthetic arms and legs following a quadruple amputation, had initially said he would seek re-election.

But in a statement to right-wing broadcaster GB News on Friday, MacKinlay said he had decided to listen to his “head” rather than his “heart” and would now depart parliament.

“It would be difficult to withstand the rigours of an all-out election campaign, a campaign that I’d always wish to lead from the front,” he said.

“Thereafter, upon being re-elected it would be difficult for me to sustain 70- to 80-hour working weeks, which were the norm prior to my illness.”

Eurosceptic Tory veteran John Redwood and former minister Greg Clark also confirmed they were standing down.

Some 118 of parliament’s 650 MPs have said they will not seek re-election.

The most high profile of them are former Conservative prime minister Theresa May and ex-chancellor Nadhim Zahawi.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris is also going.

More MPs are expected to confirm they are heading for the exit door before the June 7 deadline for parties to confirm their election candidates.

Media reports have suggested that the Tories are struggling to field prospective MPs in some areas.

Sunak’s surprise calling of the election on Wednesday, six months before he had to, also came before Labour had all its candidates in place. AFP