Peter Heaton-Jones MP
Working Hard for North Devon
News Update -
Date: 31st October 2019
Thank you and welcome to my latest Newsletter.
An unusual newsletter this week – it’s short, for a start!
As you may have heard, I have taken the difficult decision to stand down from parliament when my current term comes to an end. I won’t, therefore, be standing in the general election which we now know will be on Thursday 12 December. A new Conservative candidate will be chosen as quickly as the proper process allows.
I have decided that the best thing to do is to reproduce here the text of the letter I wrote yesterday to the Chairman of the North Devon Conservative Association, Chris Guyver – which is the correct protocol in these circumstances. I hope it explains sufficiently my thinking and the messages I want to pass on.
Letter from Peter Heaton-Jones to Chairman of NDCA
My letter is as follows…
I am writing to let you know that, after a short but extremely intense period of personal reflection, I have decided to stand down from Parliament at the forthcoming general election. I would be grateful therefore if the necessary arrangements could be made for the selection of a new Conservative candidate for North Devon.
This has been an extremely difficult and personal decision and one I have reached only very recently. I am letting you know at the earliest opportunity. As the prospect of an early election has become a reality, I have had to ask myself whether I can truthfully commit to serving potentially a further five years as Member of Parliament. I believe it is incumbent upon a candidate to be able to make that personal commitment to serve a full term. I have now concluded that, in all honesty, I cannot do so. It would therefore be unfair, both to the Party and the wider electorate, for me to be the candidate in these circumstances.
This is a purely personal decision. It is based on several factors, including a significant change in my family circumstances since my re-election in 2017. In addition, this has been one of the most intense periods in recent political history, and I think it is telling that a relatively high number of MPs are deciding to stand down now. I want to stress, however, that there is no political dimension to my decision, and that the Association, the Party and the Government continue to have my full support.
I want to place on record my sincere thanks to the Association for the unstinting support I have received since being selected as the candidate almost seven years ago. I also want to thank my brilliant, hardworking staff both in Westminster and in the constituency. I am proud of what we have achieved, especially the significant government funding for the North Devon Link Road and the recent commitment to a new District Hospital. However, the opportunity to personally assist the many thousands of North Devonians who have contacted me directly has been the most rewarding part of the role, and the one I shall miss the most.
I will of course offer my full support to the next Conservative candidate, whoever that might be. I am sure they will become our next Member of Parliament. It is a position which I have been extremely privileged to hold since 2015, and I am truly humbled to have been given that opportunity by the Association and the people of North Devon.
Letter from Chairman of NDCA to Peter Heaton-Jones
In response, I received the following letter:
Thank you for your letter informing me of your decision not to fight the forthcoming General Election as our candidate. I appreciate and accept the reasons you have given for what will have been a very difficult decision. You have served the people of North Devon exceptionally well so I know how tough the call will have been for you.
It is not for me to beguile you away from this decision as I know you will have taken it with the best interests of the Conservative Party at heart. Your achievements locally have been many including delivering the Link Road upgrade and the fantastic news about our new district hospital.
On behalf of all the Association members can I thank you for your public service; and for your continuing support for our new candidate who will win the seat for the Conservatives in December.
This will probably be my last newsletter. Even though the general election isn’t until mid-December, parliament is dissolved next Wednesday and that is the point at which I cease to be the MP – after all, a parliament that doesn’t exist can’t have any members!
That being the case, I want to say a sincere thank you for reading this newsletter. It actually started long before I was first elected when I was the mere candidate, so some of you may have been reading it for six years. Thank you very much indeed – it is greatly appreciated.
As I said in my letter to the chairman, I am truly humbled to have been given the opportunity to be North Devon’s MP. I wish my successor all the best.
Peter Heaton-Jones MP
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Mail: 1st Floor Office Suite, Church House, Church Lane
Barnstaple, North Devon, EX31 1DE
Telephone: 01271 327990