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Former sports minister becomes latest Tory to say she will quit Parliament

Tracey Crouch said she would pursue ‘a new professional challenge’, and that her reasons for not standing were ‘entirely personal and positive’.

Tracey Crouch Handout photo

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch has announced that she will leave Parliament at the next general election in order to “seek a new professional challenge”.

Ms Crouch, who represents Chatham and Aylesford, in Kent, made the announcement on Monday in a message to the chair of her constituency association.

The Conservative MP, who completed treatment for breast cancer in 2021 after being diagnosed the previous year, said: “The reasons for not wishing to stand are entirely personal and positive.

“While everyone’s cancer journey is different, for me going through a diagnosis and coming out the other side of treatment has been a life-affirming experience. It has been an opportunity to pause and reflect on my own personal priorities and based on that I truly believe it is time to seek a new professional challenge.

“We spend far too much time in our relatively short lives putting things off but at some point you have to say to yourself if not now, when and for me I have realised that when is now.”

Ms Crouch, 48, is the eighth MP, and sixth Conservative, this year to announce that they will quit Parliament at the election expected to take place later in 2024.

Overall, more than 80 MPs, and more than 50 Conservatives, have already said they intend to stand down at the next election – more than retired at the 2019 election and almost as many as retired in 2015.

Afghanistan Development Squad v Women�s Parliamentary Team – Dulwich Hamlet FC
A keen football fan, Tracey Crouch chaired a review of the governance of the English game in 2021 (James Manning/PA)

In her resignation letter, she said she would “continue to work tirelessly for my constituents” until the election, and looked forward to supporting whoever was selected as the Conservative candidate for her seat, which has a majority of 18,540.

First elected in 2010, Ms Crouch served as sports minister for three years under David Cameron and Theresa May, resigning in 2018 over delays to a promised reduction in the maximum stakes for fixed-odds betting machines from £100 to £2.

In 2021, she chaired a review of football governance in England triggered by the backlash to the short-lived proposals to form a European Super League. The review had been promised in the 2019 Conservative manifesto following the collapse of Bury FC.

Among the recommendations were the creation of an independent football regulator to oversee financial regulation of the men’s professional game and the imposition of a “stamp duty” on transfers between Premier League clubs.

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