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Health minister Will Quince to stand down at next election to ‘put family first’

The Conservative MP for Colchester said he felt he had been ‘neglecting’ his job as a father.

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Health minister Will Quince has announced he will step down at the next election so he can “put my family and daughters first”.

Mr Quince said he had informed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who he supported during last summer’s Conservative leadership contest, and his local Tory association of his decision not to put himself forward to contest the election, expected to take place next year.

In a statement on his website, he said he was “incredibly proud” of what he had achieved in Parliament but that he felt he had been “neglecting” his role as a father.

The Colchester MP joins a long list of parliamentarians to announce they will bring a close to their Commons careers at the next national poll, with almost 50 declaring that this term will be their last.

The bid to replace him at the next election is likely to be closely fought, with Mr Quince securing a 9,400 majority over his Labour rival at the 2019 election.

Labour is currently well ahead of the Tories in national opinion polling.

Mr Quince said: “This has not been an easy decision as it has been the honour of my life to serve as Colchester’s member of Parliament and a privilege to represent its people.

“However, being a member of Parliament and minister of state at the Department of Health and Social Care is all consuming and I know the impact it has had on my young family.

“I have always given my all in every job I have had, but I am acutely aware that I am neglecting the most important job I have, being a good dad to two young girls.

“My decision is driven by my desire to put my family and daughters first as they grow up.”

The 40-year-old, who was first elected in 2015, resigned as children and families minister in July over Boris Johnson’s premiership.

He said he could not accept being sent out to defend former prime minister Boris Johnson on television with inaccurate information over sexual assault allegations against former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.

In his letter of resignation, Mr Quince said he had “no choice” having “accepted and repeated” assurances from Downing Street which “have now been found to be inaccurate”.

Liz Truss appointed him to the Department of Health and Social Care when she took the reins at Downing Street in September, with Mr Sunak keeping him in the role when he was installed in No 10 a month later.

Those joining Mr Quince in exiting the Commons at the next election include former SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Conservative former deputy prime minister Dominic Raab and former deputy Labour Party leader Margaret Beckett.

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