The inside of the House of Commons, with all benches filled with politicians

As of 20 May, Parliament lists three Greater Manchester MPs that are standing down. Who are they and why are they quitting politics?

There are 27 parliamentary constituencies covering Greater Manchester, although the boundaries are changing this General Election. At present, it looks like most of the incumbents are staying to contest their seats, but a handful are stepping down.

The current list contains 105 MPs who are leaving Westminster, about 1/6 of all MPs.

William Wragg, MP for Hazel Grove since 2015

Composite image of William Wragg's official photo and a map of Greater Manchester highlighting his constituency, Hazel Grove
William Wragg, MP for Hazel Grove

This name will come as no surprise since Wragg announced in November 2022 that he would not be contesting his seat at the next election. Although Wragg rose to some prominence as vice-chair of the 1922 Committee and chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee, it all came crashing down in April 2024 when he was forced to resign the Conservative whip after getting caught in a honeytrap on Grindr and was blackmailed into disclosing political colleagues’ mobile numbers to the plotters.

Sir Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham & Sale West since 1997

Composite image of Graham Brady's official photo and a map of Greater Manchester highlighting his constituency, Altrincham & Sale West
Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham & Sale West

Brady announced at the end of 2023 that he would step down at the next election. He has served a relatively unblemished and distinguished 27 years as the constituency MP, and is the current chair of the 1922 Committee. He told Altrincham Today, “I have decided to bring this fascinating and fulfilling chapter of my life to a close while I am young enough to pursue other opportunities and interests, so I will not be standing at the next election.” We will have to wait and see what lucrative private sector role he steps into after 4 July.

Chris Clarkson, MP for Heywood & Middleton since 2019

Composite image of Chris Clarkson's official photo and a map of Greater Manchester highlighting his constituency, Heywood & Middleton
Chris Clarkson, MP for Heywood & Middleton

Clarkson’s seat was one of those ‘Red Wall’ seats taken by the Conservatives from Labour in the 2019 General Election, won by just 663 votes. While he has said that “Following the Boundary Review’s recommendation that the current Heywood and Middleton seat be replaced by a new Heywood seat and a new Manchester Blackley seat I have decided not to seek selection for either”, it’s likely that he is aware of which way the wind is blowing and has chosen to step down before inevitably losing his seat.

Notably, all three MPs are from the Conservative Party, as are the majority of resignations across the country. Additionally, Christian Wakeford, who gained Bury South for the Conservatives in another ‘Red Wall’ coup, defected to Labour in 2022 describing it as “the most difficult decision I have ever had to make”. Perhaps that decision was influenced by his tiny majority of 402 for the ailing Conservatives.

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Featured image: UK Parliament

In-article images: composites made from images on Wikipedia

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  • Kacy Preen

    Kacy is co-editor and organiser at The Meteor, and has lived in Manchester for 20+ years. They are interested in local politics and property development. Kacy is a member of the Trans Journalists Association.

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