Another Tory grandee quits the Commons

Author: By David Hughes

Party grandee Mr Ancram, who is the Marquess of Lothian, was caught up in the
expenses scandal and repaid almost £100 he claimed to have his swimming pool
boiler serviced. The 64-year-old has been MP for the safe Tory seat of
Devizes, Wiltshire, since 1992 and held it with a majority of 13,194 in 2005.

In a letter to the chairman of his constituency party he said he had been
taking medication for a heart problem for the last six years. In his letter
to constituency chairman Ken Carter, Mr Ancram said: “It is with
genuine sadness that I have decided to stand down from Parliament at the
coming general election. This decision has been forced upon me by
considerations of health.

“I have for the past six years successfully been on medication for
coronary problems. I have however recently had to consider the effects of
the pressures of another five years of parliamentary and constituency duties
upon my health. I have also taken into consideration the fact that I will be
almost 65 at the time when the election is likely to be held.

“I have reluctantly concluded that for the sake of my family and myself
the time has come for me to stand down.”

Following the election, Mr Ancram said his wife Jane and he would divide their
time between Wiltshire and Scotland. In a statement, Devizes Conservative
Constituency Association said Mr Ancram had been an “excellent”
MP. “Michael Ancram’s decision to stand down at the next general
election is greeted with a combination of concern at the cause of his
decision and great pride and respect at the way he has served the Devizes
constituency since first elected in 1992,” the association said.

As part of its expose of MPs’ expenses, the Daily Telegraph reported that Mr
Ancram claimed £98.58 for the repair of his swimming pool boiler as well as
more than £3,000 in cleaning costs and £1,250 of gardening expenses in a
single year.

The Tories, progressive? Mandy hits out

Lord Mandelson yesterday attacked shadow Chancellor George Osborne?s claims
that the Conservatives had become the ?progressive? force of UK politics.

Accusing the Tories of ?political cross-dressing?, the Business
Secretary predicted that the Tory plan for government would have ?a
crippling cost in human potential and long-term growth?. Yesterday Mr
Osborne called for major changes to public services to prevent cuts as a
result of tighter budgets. He said Labour had ?abandoned progressive
politics? and would be ?condemned to irrelevancy? for years.

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