Sod’s law: a few hours after writing an article in which I briefly speculated about Richard Bacon’s future in South Norfolk, the MP has announced he is standing down at the next election. He had previously lost a re-adoption vote by his constituency executive and faced a ballot of the wider membership.
He told Park Radio that although he had “loved every minute” of being the MP for the constituency since 2021, it was “time to give someone else a chance”. Bacon said he had been “thinking deeply about this since Christmas”.
Bacon conceded that “some local Conservative members did not want [him] to stand again” but had been “heartened by the many message from others who urged [him] to keep going”. Nonetheless, he had “concluded it’s time for a fresh face”.
When ConservativeHome previously spoke to local sources about the vote against Bacon, we were told the major concern was a “lack of visible engagement” in the constituency. He promised to do better but, according to one local source, “never changed”.
Posters were placed around his local constituency (of unknown origin) declaring Bacon “missing”. He was apparently raised often with campaigners on the doorstep ahead of the loss of 11 Tory seats in the local elections two weeks ago.
As such, one local Conservative told ConservativeHome that they thought it would be “inevitable” that Bacon would have lost a vote of the wider membership. A case, perhaps, of him jumping before he was pushed. Then again, one would suggest that it would be difficult to extend your majority at five out of the six elections you have contested without some local popularity.
Bacon leaves Parliament with a healthy majority, and as a former ConservativeHome “Outstanding Parliamentarian of the Year” for his work in questioning Charles Clarke’s Home Office concerning the fate of failed asylum seeks released from prison.
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