Since being first elected to represent Ruislip-Northwood in 2005, I have committed myself to public service. Over the last fourteen years I have been incredibly proud to serve my constituents across Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner.
It has also been a great honour to have been invited by three different Prime Ministers to serve my country for almost nine years as Minister in five Government Departments – overseeing charities and the voluntary sector at the Cabinet Office, international development in Sub-Saharan Africa at DFID; climate change and industry at BEIS; Police and Fire at the Home Office; and now Northern Ireland and London. The responsibility of being Minister for the survivors and bereaved of the terrible Grenfell tragedy in 2017 has been a very personal one for me.
When I was re-elected in 2017, I committed to serve my constituents until 2022. Given the clear likelihood that a General Election will be called before that date, I feel I should clarify my position.
Fourteen years ago, my intention was to serve in Parliament for as long as my constituents continued to elect me. However, much has changed since then. Politics is now dominated by the ongoing division over Brexit. More happily, my private life has been changed profoundly by the birth of my two youngest children.
I now feel that it is time for me to make a change and embrace a new challenge. After a very great deal of thought, I have decided not to stand again as a candidate at the next General Election.
Whilst I will be stepping down as an MP at the next General Election, I will continue to work on the social and environmental issues closest to my heart, but from outside Parliament and in a way which will allow more space for a healthier balance to life.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my constituents for placing their faith and trust in me since 2005. The most rewarding part of being an MP is the opportunity to help other people. I could not have achieved this for so many of my constituents without the support and hard work of my brilliant team - I thank them for their dedication.
I will of course continue to serve my constituents to the best of my abilities until such time as Parliament is dissolved for the next General Election.