WORCESTER’s MP Robin Walker has revealed he will not seek re-election as the city’s MP at the next General Election.
In a letter to the Worcester Conservative Association, Mr Walker said his young family needed him to be ‘more present’ and the strains of living in two places and life as an MP were ‘not ones I can continue to sustain’.
The decision brings to an end 13 years of service to the city during which time Mr Walker has fought four General Elections, the most recent in 2019 saw him win a majority of 6,758.
In a reflective letter to his party chairman Chris Rimell, Mr Walker said he felt he had achieved many of the things he set out to do in parliament but needed to prioritise his family.
“I am immensely proud of what we have achieved together and that so many of the things I was elected to do for Worcester have been, or are in the process of being, delivered,” Mr Walker said.
“Having thought long and hard about the decision, however, I have come to the conclusion that my young family needs me to be more present and that the strains of living in two places and weekend commitments involved with the life of an MP, are not ones I can continue to sustain.
“With young children starting school and nursery respectively I want to be able to take more time to support them and watch them grow up.
“I will therefore not be seeking re-adoption as the parliamentary candidate for Worcester at the next General Election.
“I am confident that, with the strong team you have in place locally and the excellent talent in the party, you will be able to find a strong candidate and, with our party leadership in excellent hands, the team will be able to secure a fifth consecutive Conservative victory in Worcester.
In his letter, Mr Walker highlighted investments at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, including the £15million upgrade to its A&E currently underway, the delivery of fairer funding for schools and new schools for the city, faster rail connections and the delivery of key transport projects such as Worcestershire Parkway and the dualling of the Southern Link Road.
After six years as a backbencher, Mr Walker took his first job in Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union until 2019, after which he became Minister of State for Northern Ireland.
He then became Minister of State for School Standards, enabling him to focus on his passion for improving education.
In November last year he was elected as Chairman of the Education Select Committee which scrutinises the government’s education policy. He will continue in this role and as MP for Worcester until the next General Election is called.
In his letter to Mr Rimell, Mr Walker paid tribute to the support from local party chairman and members since he was first named as a parliamentary candidate in 2006.
“I look forward to working with you and our excellent local candidates to secure a strong result in the upcoming local elections,” he said.
“I wish to reiterate my thanks to everyone who has worked so hard over the years to enable me to serve this city, and to you personally for the support and wise counsel that you have always offered.”
Poignantly, Mr Walker said it was ‘an honour I can never forget’ to be able to speak at his father’s funeral as his successor as MP for Worcester.
Sir Peter Walker was MP for Worcester between 1961 and 1992 and fought nine elections during that time.
Responding to Mr Walker’s letter, Chris Rimell, chairman of the Worcester Conservatives, hailed the MP as a ‘hardworking and diligent servant of Worcester and a tenacious voice in Parliament for our city’.
“We will select a Conservative parliamentary candidate for the next election, and in doing so ensure the electorate have a candidate who is up to the job of continuing with the very high standards Robin has set,” he added.
This story is being continually updated…