As the Brexit storm continues to rip through parliament, Conservative member Justine Greening has announced that she will stand down as an MP at the next general election.
Justine Greening has been a member of the Conservative Party for 16 years, spending over six of those years in Cabinet. She was the first comprehensive-educated education secretary and the first LGBTQ+ female cabinet minister. She’s also championed women’s rights by serving as the minister for women and equalities.
But the MP for Putney shared a statement on Twitter on Tuesday (3 September) confirming that she will “not be standing as a Conservative candidate” in the next election. The news came on the same day that Tory rebels joined the Labour party to bring forward a bill to stop the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal.
In her letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Greening explained that her mission to focus on bettering social mobility in the UK cannot be done under the current government’s Brexit gridlock. Instead, she said she will continue her work through the Social Mobility Pledge, which she felt would be more effective.
She also said that she is “deeply” concerned about Johnson’s plans for Brexit.
The politician then went on to further explain her resignation on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, describing her party as being “the Brexit Party”. She also said that the Tory Party is “narrowing down its appeal”.
“My concerns about the Conservative party becoming the Brexit party have come to pass,” she said. “I don’t believe that the Conservative Party will offer people a sensible choice at the next election in respect of the fact that Boris Johnson is going to offer people a general election that faces them with the choice of a no-deal or Jeremy Corbyn. That is a lose-lose general election for Britain.”
Greening made it very clear that her commitment is to her constituency until her resignation. But it is her dedication to social mobility that she will continue to focus on.
She recently wrote about this in a self-penned Stylist article, saying: “The truth is the challenges we face growing up around our country may be different - but the opportunity is the same. To make Britain a fairer place, a place where it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you’re from or who you love, and instead make it a place where only your creativity and hard work decide your future. That’s what the Social Mobility Pledge is all about. It’s about building a Britain we can all have pride in.”
We’ll all have to wait and see what happens next in the turning events of Brexit over the coming few days. But it’s clear Greening’s decision – and the reasons behind it – will have an impact.