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Page last updated at 23:37 GMT, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 00:37 UK

Election 2010: Retiring MPs plan life after Westminster

By Kevin Young
Political reporter, BBC News

Nearly a quarter of those who served in the last Parliament have retired as MPs and are not contesting the general election.

But how will they adjust to life after Westminster and what are their plans for the future?

Four of the 146 members who have stood down explain what they intend to do next.


I've bought a house on Dartmoor and the first six months of my retirement will be spent renovating it.

Ann Widdecombe
Ann Widdecombe, 62, had represented her constituency in Kent since 1987
I'm going to be writing much more and, for as long as they want me, I shall keep my Daily Express column.

Then next year I will be doing some quite serious travelling. I've never seen the Terracotta Army or the Great Wall of China - I'm almost ashamed to admit that - so that's on my list. Also the Rhine, and I've never had time to explore Australia and have never been to New Zealand.

I think life will be very, very different. At the moment, when I've seen something I haven't agreed with, or I've been shocked at an injustice, I've been able to say I'll take that up, and I've had a means of doing so. That's disappeared so in future I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do. I shall write it in my Express column, I expect.

If I was going to miss politics a great deal I would never have resigned this time. I would have stayed on. But you can't do something for 23 years and not miss it at all. Obviously I will.


I've been fortunate enough to get a Fulbright scholarship to go to the United States, and I'll be going to the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard, to do a mid-career Master's degree in public administration.

Adam Price
Adam Price, 41, was elected in 2001 to serve the area where he grew up
I always said that I'd probably like to do two terms and I didn't want to commit to anything beyond that. I think it's not a bad thing for politics if people come in, do their bit of national service, if you like, and maybe go back into their other careers.

It's a total, all-encompassing change for me - not just a change of career but leaving the country as well. It's going to be interesting going back to college.

One of the difficult things about modern politics is that you simply don't have time to think. It's been a fairly breathless nine years.

It was an honour to represent the community where I was brought up and went to school, and that bit I'll miss, but I won't miss Westminster.

I never really felt I was a House of Commons man. There is an air of a gentlemen's club about the place but hopefully that will change with so many new people coming in.

I'm going to work for the think-tank Demos, based in London, as their chief economist, starting in mid-May. I've always enjoyed working on economic policy, and I've been working on that, inside and outside government, for 15 years.

Kitty Ussher
Kitty Ussher, 39, was the MP for Burnley for five years until last month
The reason I'm leaving Parliament is family. It's not that I want to start a new career particularly, it's just that the logistics of it defeated me.

I wanted to see my children in the evening, and that's not possible. I want to see them while they're at primary school, so the next Parliamentary term was the one to miss.

I'm trying to build a life that means I can carry on doing the things I enjoy, but in a way that means I can be the better parent that I want to be as well.

I'll really miss my constituency. It sounds a bit bonkers but I think all MPs go through a process of falling in love with the physical place and I very much did that, about eight years ago.

Burnley will still be there and I'll be back often, but I'll really miss working on that on a day-to-day basis because I really believe in the town's future.

I'm feeling quite sad about that at the moment.

The two portfolios I've held have been international development and disability. I've gained a lot of information, knowledge and experience, and have visited a very large number of the poorest countries, particularly in Africa.

John Barrett
John Barrett, 55, served as the MP for Edinburgh West from 2001 until 2010
Two different charities have said it'd be great if we could sit down and find out how we could harness this expertise and energy afterwards.

I'm on the Edinburgh International Film Festival's advisory board.

Before I was an MP, I was involved in film and video production. The festival moved a couple of years ago to June, which is during the Parliamentary calendar, so for the first time in three years, I'm actually going to be in Edinburgh for that.

I'm also still 100% committed to the Liberal Democrats and I'm on the federal executive of the party and their Scottish executive.

I'll miss the friends I've made, who'll stick with me for life. Parts of the work were interesting and fascinating, and working with constituents was great, but I feel it's now the right time to pass on the baton.

The full list of MPs who have stood down is as follows:


Hilary Armstrong
John Austin
John Battle
Liz Blackman
Des Browne
Colin Burgon
Stephen Byers
Richard Caborn
Colin Challen
Ben Chapman
David Chaytor
Michael Clapham
David Clelland
Harry Cohen
Jim Cousins
Ann Cryer
John Cummings
Claire Curtis Thomas
Quentin Davies
Janet Dean
Jim Devine
Jeff Ennis
Bill Etherington
Mark Fisher
Barbara Follett
Bruce George
Neil Gerrard
Nigel Griffiths
John Grogan
Mike Hall
Sylvia Heal
Doug Henderson
John Heppell
Stephen Hesford
Patricia Hewitt
Keith Hill
Geoff Hoon
Kim Howells
Beverley Hughes
Joan Humble
John Hutton
Brian Iddon
Adam Ingram
Lynne Jones
Martyn Jones
Ruth Kelly
Fraser Kemp
Jane Kennedy
Peter Kilfoyle
Bob Laxton
David Lepper
Tom Levitt
Andrew Mackinlay
Bob Marshall-Andrews
Eric Martlew
Tommy McAvoy
Chris McCafferty
Ian McCartney
John McFall
Rosemary McKenna
Alan Milburn
Anne Moffat
Laura Moffatt
Margaret Moran
Elliott Morley
Kali Mountford
Chris Mullin
Denis Murphy
Doug Naysmith
Edward O'Hara
Bill Olner
Ian Pearson
Greg Pope
John Prescott
Bridget Prentice
Ken Purchase
James Purnell
John Reid
Martin Salter
Mohammad Sarwar
Sion Simon
Alan Simpson
John Smith
Helen Southworth
Ian Stewart
Howard Stoate
Gavin Strang
Paddy Tipping
Mark Todd
Don Touhig
Paul Truswell
Des Turner
Neil Turner
Kitty Ussher
Rudi Vis
Alan Williams
Betty Williams
Michael Wills
Tony Wright (Cannock Chase)
Derek Wyatt


Peter Ainsworth
Michael Ancram
Peter Atkinson
Tim Boswell
Angela Browning
John Butterfill
Patrick Cormack
David Curry
Christopher Fraser
Paul Goodman
John Greenway
John Gummer
Douglas Hogg
John Horam
Michael Howard
Michael Jack
Robert Key
Julie Kirkbride
Jacqui Lait
Michael Lord
Andrew MacKay
David Maclean
Humfrey Malins
John Maples
Michael Mates
Malcolm Moss
Michael Spicer
Richard Spring
Anthony Steen
Ian Taylor
Peter Viggers
Ann Widdecombe
David Wilshire
Lady Ann Winterton
Sir Nicholas Winterton

Liberal Democrats

John Barrett
Colin Breed
David Howarth
Paul Keetch
Mark Oaten
Matthew Taylor
Phil Willis


Alex Salmond

Plaid Cymru

Adam Price


Ian Paisley


Eddie McGrady

Independent Labour

Clare Short

Independent Conservative

Derek Conway


Bob Wareing

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