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'I'm not a great fan of Boris' - Keith Simpson stepping down as Broadland MP

PUBLISHED: 13:27 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:27 03 September 2019

Keith Simpson is stepping down after 22 years as an MP. Picture: Colin Finch

Keith Simpson is stepping down after 22 years as an MP. Picture: Colin Finch

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Broadland Tory MP Keith Simpson said he will miss "the greasepaint" smell of Parliament after announcing he won't be standing at the next general election.

He has served as MP for Broadland since the 2010 general election, having previously been MP for Mid Norfolk from 1997 to 2010. He had a majority of 15,816 at the 2017 general election.

While he would not say whether his decision was connected to Brexit, he added: "I'm not a great fan of Boris Johnson at all, and I don't want to leave with no deal. The majority of farmers in my constituency are against that."

He also criticised the Prime Minister for threatening to deselect Tory MPs who rebel over Brexit, barring them from standing as Conservatives in the event of an election.

"That could mean deselecting two former chancellors of the exchequer, so let's get real," he added.

In July, Mr Simpson voted against the government for the first time in his parliamentary career.

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He told his local party in August to give time to nominate a successor in the event of a snap election.

He said: "I'm 70 and a half and while that's not an old age, as it was in my grandfather's day, I decided to stand down after the last election. As my friend Gillian Shepherd said, it's not how old you are now but, if you got re-elected, how old you would be in five years' time."

He added: "The time to quit was when you were still wanted, as the late Ronnie Barker used to say.

"It's quite something when you do give up, as it's like a job.

"It's a lovely constituency and we've done lots of things here. I will miss the smell of greasepaint in Parliament.

"I've seen 9/11, both Iraq wars. It will be a change."

Born in Sprowston, his 96-year-old mother still lives there. He added: "She watches the Andrew Marr show on the weekend and rings me up to quiz me about it."

He said on Twitter: "I will not be seeking re-selection for the Broadland constituency. Decided that months ago but now feel like the first officer to man the lifeboats on the Titanic."

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