Good news! Several of Brexit’s biggest supporters have announced their intention to stand down at the next election. Bad news! It does not have to be held until January 2025 – meaning that for the moment, we’re still saddled with the likes of these…
1) NADINE DORRIES (MID BEDFORDSHIRE)
The former culture secretary and Boris Johnson superfan who makes the height of Beatlemania seem a little on the tepid side, ardent Brexiteer Dorries told viewers of her TalkTV show earlier this month that “it is literally true that Brexit helped save lives” during the pandemic as it meant the government could approve vaccines more quickly – a long since debunked claim. Expected to trade her 24,664 majority for a seat in the Lords in Johnson’s much-delayed resignation honours list.
2) MATT HANCOCK (WEST SUFFOLK)
The former health secretary ran for the Conservative leadership in 2019 on a ticket of opposing a no-deal Brexit, only to enthusiastically embrace it once part of Johnson’s cabinet months later, saying he had “changed his mind” on the dangers such an exit posed. Stepping down from Parliament following his lucrative I’m A Celebrity… stint to find “new ways for me to communicate” with the public.
3) DEHENNA DAVISON (BISHOP AUCKLAND)
Red Wall poster girl who is retiring from frontline politics at the age of 29, having spent (at the time of writing) just over three years as an MP. Davison, who was pictured on January 31, 2020, alongside a man who had previously praised Adolf Hitler as “a great man” (she said she “in no way whatsoever condones the views highlighted of the individuals concerned”) bequeathes her successor a 7,962 majority.
4) ADAM AFRIYIE (WINDSOR)
Little-known businessman who “friends” briefed to the press in 2013 may have been a leadership challenger to David Cameron, Afriyie was an early hardline Brexiteer who, by last year, was reduced to making convoluted arguments how leaving the EU would help people cut down on smoking. Declared bankrupt last year by a court ruling which found he owed about £1.7m.
5) ANDREW PERCY (BRIGG AND GOOLE)
Short-lived (less than a year) levelling up minister under Theresa May, Percy is a fan of referenda, having called for one on reintroducing the death penalty in 2011. Wished his constituents “Happy Brexit Day” in January 2020, optimistically cheering “Hopefully the divisions of the past couple of years can now heal and we can forge a new future together as a truly independent nation!”.
6) CHARLES WALKER (BROXBOURNE)
One of the very few sinners who repented among Tory Brexiteers, saying in 2019: “To the day I die I will curse myself for ever thinking that a referendum was a good idea” and telling BBC World Service listeners “I’m an idiot. I’m happy to admit to your listeners I’m an idiot”. Alas proved he had learned nothing two years later by announcing he would protest Covid lockdown restrictions by carrying around a pint of milk with him.
7) WILLIAM WRAGG (HAZEL GROVE)
Vice-chair of the Conservatives’ backbench 1922 committee who in 2016 assured those who may have had concerns about Brexit following the Leave vote he campaigned for, “ignore the prophecies of doom which have evidently scared people, and [I] reassure you that, if handled correctly, this Brexit journey we now embark on will leave us better off”. (Voiceover: It was not handled correctly).
8) NIGEL ADAMS (SELBY AND AINSTY)
A junior minister in a number of roles under both Theresa May and Johnson, Adams is one of a number of Tory MPs whose constituency is likely to disappear following boundary changes in 2024. Was named earlier this month as having spent £9,289 on a visit to Japan in July 2022 in order to “confirm the UK’s commitment to the Osaka Expo”, but still better known for being filmed telling a Brexit protestor to “fuck off” in the street outside Parliament.
9) CRISPIN BLUNT (REIGATE)
Former chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee who assuaged constituents in 2019 that getting Brexit done, even by means of proroguing Parliament, would “begin the process of healing our differences to regain the confidence of internationalists”. Last year claimed that the conviction of a fellow Conservative MP for a child sex offence was an “international scandal” and “serious miscarriage of justice”.
10) MIKE PENNING (HEMEL HEMPSTEAD)
Hardcore Brexiteer who held a number of junior ministerial positions under David Cameron and May, he told constituents in 2016 that Remainers “will say that we will lose trade with the EU – wrong again. The EU needs us a lot more than we need them”. In May 2021 he tabled an Early Day Motion in the Commons demanding that “as the UK has left the European Union, the UK should now leave the Eurovision Song Contest”. Not a single other MP signed it.