General Election 2019: Conservative MP George Hollingbery announces he is stepping down from Meon Valley seat

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A Conservative MP has said he will not be standing in the forthcoming election.

Despite being readopted by the Meon Valley Conservative Association to stand again, George Hollingbery has decided not fight again for his seat.

George Hollingbery'Picture: Malcolm Wells (150508-9297)

George Hollingbery'Picture: Malcolm Wells (150508-9297)

Sir George said: ‘The last nine years as the MP for such a wonderful constituency have been a tremendous privilege, but it's time to seek new challenges outside Westminster.

‘I was readopted as the candidate back in September, but things have moved on a great deal since then. When the general election was called at such short notice, I sat down and talked things through with my family and friends and decided it was time to move on.

‘My decision is entirely a personal one. I remain fully supportive of the Prime Minister and of his EU withdrawal deal. I firmly believe the referendum result must be honoured, but it is now for others in the next parliament to take this forward.

‘It is only left for me to say thank you to all those who have helped and supported me through what has been 20 years in politics in Hampshire as a councillor, a parliamentary candidate and an MP.

‘I am proud to have been in public service and to have been a minister, but I look forward to my next challenge - whatever that may be.

‘I also wish the next MP for the Meon Valley all the best. They will be incredibly lucky to represent such a beautiful and vibrant place.’

READ MORE: Candidates confirmed so far for the General Election

Sir George is the 72nd sitting MP across the country to announce they will not be standing again.

He was elected in 2010, when the Meon Valley seat was created. At the 2017 election he was returned with a majority of 25,692. He was knighted in Theresa May's resignation honours this year.

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for the Meon Valley seat, Lewis North, commented: ‘I am sorry to see Sir George go, he was respected locally and although I didn't share his politics, I wish him all the best in the future.  

‘More and more moderate Tories like Sir George are stepping down at this election - the Conservative Party isn't the party it once was.’