The former UK Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that he will not contest the upcoming general election.
In a letter to his constituents he said he could not bring himself to stand against his former party.
Mr Hammond was expelled from the Conservative Party after he voted in favour of a motion blocking a no-deal Brexit.
He served as Chancellor for Theresa May but resigned from Cabinet hours before succeeding her in protest at the incoming Prime Minister’s plan to push for a no-deal Brexit if he could not secure a new deal with the EU.
He had originally indicated that he would stand as an independent candidate; however, he has now decided against it.
It is with great sadness that I am today announcing my decision to stand down as Member of Parliament for Runnymede & Weybridge at the forthcoming General Election.
My letter to the constituents I have served for 22 years: pic.twitter.com/KW8KUOhM5I
— Philip Hammond (@PhilipHammondUK) November 5, 2019
He noted that many of his Tory colleagues had defied the party whip in the past without any action being taken against them and said he was “saddened” to find himself in this situation after 44 years as a party member.
“But however aggrieved I feel at the loss of the whip, and however strongly I believe that we must deliver Brexit through a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU to protect British jobs and prosperity, I remain a Conservative and I cannot, therefore, embark on a course of action that would represent a direct challenge in a general election to the party I have supported all my adult life," he wrote.
He said he would remain an active Tory member and would campaign for a “negotiated, close future trade and security partnership between the UK and the EU.”
Mr Hammond was among 21 rebel MPs to have the Tory whip withdrawn by the prime minister in September.
Ten of those had the party whip restored last week; however, Mr Hammond was not among them because he also voted against Mr Johnson's proposed timetable for pushing the revised Brexit deal through the House of Commons.
Mr Hammond was first elected as an MP in 1997 and served in four UK Cabinet roles under ex-prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May.
Additional reporting from IRN