John Howell, MP for the Henley Constituency has written to the South Oxfordshire Conservative Association to let them know that he will be retiring and not seeking re-adoption to stand as the candidate for the Henley Constituency at the next General election. He will, of course, remain the MP for the Constituency until such time as the election is called and Parliament dissolved.
‘By the time of the end of the next parliament I will be coming up towards my mid-70’s. I do not want to be in parliament until that time as I would like to pursue other avenues. I am a strong supporter of Rishi Sunak and I hope that the South Oxfordshire Conservative Association will continue to get behind him.’
John was first elected in 2008 and has successfully contested four General Elections since then, retaining over 50% of vote share at each one. He has always campaigned hard and never taken the seat for granted despite the large size of some of his majorities. During his time as an MP John has held a number of positions, most recently and currently as the Leader of the UK Parliamentary Delegation to the Council of Europe.
‘I have enjoyed my time as the MP for this constituency and I thank the people here for their support. I also enjoy my time leading the UK Delegation to the Council of Europe. Most recently I am proud to have been able to visit the Turkish prisoner, Osman Kavala, on behalf of the European Court of Human Rights. We are a multinational nation and I am pleased to have demonstrated this.’
Government appointments that John has held in Parliament include:
- Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the House
- Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Planning
- Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
- Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria
- Government Neighbourhood Planning Champion
- Member of the Justice Select Committee
- Chairman of the Industry and Parliament Trust
- Chairman of the Communities and Local Government Conservative Backbench Committee
- Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government
- Leader of the British Delegation to the Council of Europe
- Vice-President of the Council of Europe
Letter sent to the Chairman of the Constituency Conservative Association, Will Hall, reads:
I am writing to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Henley Conservative Association to let you know that I will not be seeking re-adoption as the Conservative candidate for the next election. I hope you will be kind enough to read this letter to the Constituency Executive or send it to them.
I have enjoyed the fifteen years I have been MP for the Henley Constituency. I thank the Executive and members for their support during this time. It has also been a matter of great pride, and still is, to have undertaken the exciting and important work I have been involved with, and continue to lead, at the Council of Europe. As this is crucial to the country continuing as a multilateral power, I look forward to this work continuing.
I have always said that I did not want to carry on in Parliament into my 70s. By the end of the next Parliament, I will be approaching my mid-70s and that is why I said at the time of the 2019 General Election that I would not seek re-adoption again. I have a number of other areas I would like to pursue.
I hope the Constituency will remain loyal to Rishi Sunak as Leader and I wish it well. The world of politics has changed substantially since I became an MP and, as you know, I have never treated this seat as a safe seat despite my majority being way above 20,000 in 2015 and 2017. Indeed I am not sure that any seat can be regarded in this way anymore. I wish the Association well in the search for a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate and every success to that person in their new role.
Until the next General Election is called and Parliament dissolved, I will continue to work hard, both here in the Constituency and in Parliament, as the MP for this Constituency.