With less than 10 months to the 2015 General Election, we look at who’s staying, who’s going, and candidate selection in retirement seats. As of the morning of 14 July 2014, 59 MPs had announced their intention not to contest the 2015 election: most recently, Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase) David Willetts (Havant) and Mike Weatherley (Hove) for the Conservatives and Gerry Sutcliffe (Bradford South) and Joe Benton (Bootle) for Labour have announced they are standing down. Bootle and Bradford South are safe Labour seats; Burley enjoyed a 7% margin over the Labour candidate in Cannock Chase in 2010, but this was a safe Labour seat (21.4) in 2005 under Tony Wright. Of the five, only Hove is a marginal seat (3.7%).

As expected, the Cabinet reshuffle has prompted a few surprises, most notably William Hague standing down as Foreign Secretary and MP for 2015. Phillip Hammond is the new Foreign Secretary, Michael Fallon takes over as Defence Secretary and Michael Gove’s move to Chief Whip is seen by many as a demotion. Much of the discussion surrounding the reshuffle has been on Cameron’s 2008 pledge to allocate 1/3 of ministerial posts to women. To this end, Nicky Morgan has replaced Gove as Education Secretary and Liz Truss has taken up post as Environment Secretary. Esther McVey remains Minister for Employment and Disabilities but will now attend Cabinet.

Here we look at the 42 candidates who have been selected in seats where a party’s incumbent has announced they are standing down: who are they and what are their chances of election? Thus far, the Tories have selected 14 of 20 candidates in retirement seats, Labour 20 of 30. Plaid Cymru has selected their candidate in their only retirement seat and until recently (14 July) the LibDems had all 8 candidates selected in their retirement seats. However, however, the unexpected announcement from Sarah Yong (Somerton and Frome) that she is standing down as the LibDem candidate, has refocused the party’s attention to the south west constituency, a marginal LibDem seat held by David Heath since 1997.


Selection in retirement seats

standing down



 Women cands.


 BME cands. selected
Conservative 20 14 5 (36 %) 3 (21%)
Labour 30 20 15 (75%) 1 (7%)
Liberal Democrat 8 7 4 (57%) 1 (14%)
Plaid Cymru 1 1 1 (100%) 0 (0%)
N= 59 N= 42 N= 25 N= 5


Thus far, 71% of candidates in retirement seats have been selected. For the Tories, 5 of 14 candidates or 36% are women; 15 of 20 candidates or 75% are women for Labour, and 4 of 7 or 57% are women in LibDem retirement seats. Of these retirement seats, six are marginal seats (based on 2010 general election results), with women candidates selected in four.

(Data: correct as of 14 July 2014)

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