So many senior Tory MPs quitting at general election that they could fill all the top Cabinet posts

The four Great Offices of State could be filled by the Commons retirees (ES Composite)
The four Great Offices of State could be filled by the Commons retirees (ES Composite)

So many senior Tory MPs are quitting at the next general election that they could fill all the top Cabinet posts.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May (MP for Maidenhead) is standing down, as is ex-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (Spelthorne), former-Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton) and ex-Home Secretary Sir Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove).

So, all the four Great Offices of State could be filled by Commons retirees.

As could a string of other posts including Defence Secretary with Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North) going, Health Secretary with Matt Hancock (West Suffolk), Transport Secretary with Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell), Northern Ireland Secretary with Sir Brandon Lewis (Great Yarmouth), Environment Secretary with George Eustice (Camborne and Redruth) and Scotland Secretary with Alister Jack (Dumfries and Galloway) also departing.

Former COP26 president Sir Alok Sharma (Reading West) is on his way out at the election, with ex-Net Zero Tsar Chris Skidmore having already quit as MP for Kingswood, sparking a by-election won by Labour, after Rishi Sunak watered down the Government’s actions to tackle global warming.

More than 60 MPs elected as Conservatives have already said they will not stand at the next election, widely expected to be in the autumn.

This figure is still significantly lower than the 100 Labour MPs who left at the 2010 election which saw Gordon Brown ousted as Prime Minister.

A series of polls are suggesting that the Conservatives are facing a disaster at the next election, with the latest one from YouGov putting the party on 155 seats.

In London, the Tories would end up with just five seats and none in central areas of the city, according to the survey which used the multi-level regression and poststratification (MRP) method of polling.

Former Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan, warned against the party shifting to the Right to try to woo more voters.

He told LBC Radio: “People need to knuckle under, support Rishi Sunak but frankly he is really up against it now.

“These people who continue to fight within the Conservative Party, the likes of Robert Jenrick and Suella Braverman, and people like that are quite simply going to destroy it for more than a generation.”

As the Tories face the prospect of a worse defeat than John Major in 1997, dozens more MPs could decide nearer election time to call it a day.

A number of senior Conservatives, though, are insisting they have no plans to leave the Commons including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Levelling-up Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary James Cleverly.

Mr Cleverly is seen as a potential leadership contender, if the Tories lose the election and Mr Sunak steps down as party leader.

Other possible candidates include ex-Home Secretary Dame Priti Patel, Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch, Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, if she holds her Portsmouth North seat, ex-Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and security minister Tom Tugendhat.

London Tory MPs who are standing down include Nickie Aiken, MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Scully, Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, Sir Bob Neill in Bromley and Chislehurst, and Mike Freer, in Finchley and Golders Green after receiving death threats.

Labour MPs in the capital quitting at the election include Harriet Harman and Dame Margaret Hodge.