Former Army Officer, Sir Tony Baldry has stood down as a Conservative MP despite having a huge majority of over 18,000. The veteran Tory claimed that fixed term parliaments would make him a lame duck after 2015 however the news of his departure will be a blow as it comes just a day after Chris Kelly stood down.
Baldry is a well-known pro-European and worked with the Britain In Europe campaign during the 1974 referendum. He is also the most senior Freemason in the House of Commons, and is considered a traditional paternalistic “wet”, the nickname given to the Tory left.
In a statement Sir Tony said: “One of the consequences of now having five year fixed term Parliaments is that if I succeed in being re-elected at the forthcoming general election, given my age, most people will assume that Parliament will be my last.
“I think this creates a danger that I may be unable to be as effective as I would wish to be; and that the constituency will be distracted from more important issues by the need to choose my successor. So after careful thought over the summer recess and discussions with my family, I have decided to stand down at the next general election.”
Whatever the reasons for the retirement it will prove embarrassing given the recent defection of Douglas Carswell and the decision of Chris Kelly to stand down. Both of whom were well liked on the right of the Conservative party and were considered to the Euro-Sceptics.