Sir Paul Beresford will not stand again as an MP in Surrey, citing “midnight sittings” in Parliament and “a diary built around the whims of the whips’ office” as reasons for retiring. The Conservative Mole Valley MP, who has been in Parliament since 1992, told constituents in an email he would not stand again in the newly-formed parliamentary constituency of Dorking and Horley.
The next general election is due to take place by January 2025 and changes to constituency boundaries will come in before then, meaning the current Mole Valley constituency will no longer exist.
Sir Paul, 76, who is also a practising dentist, has been the area’s MP since 1997. The Mole Valley parliamentary constituency will be split up under current plans, with just over 60 per cent of it forming most of the new “‘Dorking and Horley” seat.
His 25,453 vote majority in 2015, and similar in 2017, was reduced to 12,041 in the 2019 general election, with the Lib Dem candidate, and Mole Valley Councillor, Paul Kennedy in second place each time.
In an email to constituents, Sir Paul said: “I cannot express how grateful I am to the voters in Mole Valley who have consistently supported me for so long and trusted me to be their representative in the House of Commons – it has been a great honour. ” He said he had given “serious thought” to standing in the next election and that the decision to step back had “not been easy”.
Sir Paul added: “I am very much of the view that anyone elected as an MP owes it to their constituents to throw themselves entirely into the role – and when you find yourself beginning to wonder what life without midnight sittings of the House and a diary built around the whims of the whips’ office might look like – it is probably time to step back.”
[E&ET adds: Sir Paul represented Croydon Central 1992-1997]