Jeremy Browne’s decision to stand down as Member of Parliament for Taunton Deane before the 2015 General Election has meant the local Liberal Democrats are now looking for a replacement to contest the seat. Gill Slattery, chairman of the Taunton Deane Liberal Democrats, said: “Obviously we are sad that he’s chosen to move on to a different career next year. However, we are a lively and buoyant constituency party and expect to have a candidate selected by Christmas.”
BBC News reported a Lib Dem spokesman’s response to the announcement: “We wish Jeremy all the best for the future. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, regrets that he has taken the decision to leave politics as Jeremy has always had strongly held views which he expressed with great skill and conviction. Jeremy has been a tireless constituency MP to the people of Taunton and served in two important ministerial roles in the early part of this government.”
Jeremy Browne served 2 terms as MP for Taunton Deane – in 2005 and then in 2010 after the constituency boundaries were redrawn. He was fired as Minister for Crime Prevention in a parliamentary reshuffle last year, having previously served as a Minister of State at the Commonwealth and Foreign Office, and later at the Home Office.
In his resignation letter to Gill Slattery on 15th October Jeremy Browne said, “After considerable deliberation I have decided not to contest Taunton Deane as the Liberal Democrat candidate at the 2015 General Election and to stand down as the Member of Parliament for Taunton Deane at the end of this Parliament.
By 2015 I will have been the Member of Parliament for Taunton Deane for ten years. That is generally long enough to do the same job. It is not my ambition to remain in Parliament until I retire. I have been very committed to the role and I have done it to the best of my ability. It is time to do something different. I have also come to the conclusion that in national politics my race is run.
For the avoidance of any doubt, I will not be joining another political party and I have no intention to serve in any other capacity in politics.
I am humbled by the support I have received since I was first selected as the local Liberal Democrat candidate in 2001: from the people of Taunton Deane (often regardless of how they voted), from family and friends, from the staff who have worked with me, from the Taunton Deane Liberal Democrats, and from the wider family of Liberal Democrats, of which I have been a member for 26 years. It has been a memorable journey, but every journey must come to an end.”
Taunton Deane is a marginal constituency, producing close contests between Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates in recent General Elections. In 2010 Jeremy Browne was returned with a majority of 3,993. The Lib Dem’s chosen candidate will fight the election next May against UKIP candidate Laura Bailhache, Labour’s Neil Guild, Clive Martin representing the Green Party and Rebecca Pow for the Conservatives.
In response to Jeremy Browne’s announcement Rebecca Pow issued this statement: “I am sure that everyone in Taunton Deane will wish Jeremy well in whatever he decides to do with his future career and thank him for the work that he has done on behalf of constituents over the last nine years.”