Jenkin: resignation letter

Essex MP Bernard Jenkin has been sacked from his as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party.Read the full text of his resignation letter.

Essex MP Bernard Jenkin has been sacked from his job as vice chairman of the Conservative Party.

The move is part of a wider re-shuffle of the Tory team by party leader David Cameron, and party officials have denied that Mr Jenkins was sacked from his job - in charge of candidate selection - as a result of allegations that Mr Jenkin was one of three MPs who told an Asian candidate for the new Witham parliamentary seat that they would be “shocked” if a white middle-aged man wasn't selected.

Mr Jenkin denied making the remark.

His resignation letter to David Cameron is as follows:


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Following our meeting this morning, and having served you in my present role for the all-important first year of your leadership, I am writing to confirm that I think this is the right time for me to move on. You kindly offered a most interesting shadow minister of state role, but having served on the Opposition front bench for nearly ten years, mostly in the Shadow Cabinet, I would prefer to return to the back benches. I will enjoy supporting you in the House of Commons and devoting more time to my constituents.

It has been a great privilege to work with you, Francis Maude, Shireen Ritchie and Gareth Fox over this past year as your Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party responsible for Candidates. It has also been a huge and controversial challenge, but we are succeeding in the objective you set at the outset of your leadership. The nomination of priority candidates and the revision of constituency procedures have dramatically increased the number of women being selected in target and Conservative held seats - at present over 35 per cent.

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I regret that this is brutal for some of the hard-working and loyal men on the Candidates List, but this has been achieved without changing the Constitution of the Party and without compromising the right of constituency associations to make the ultimate choice about who shall be their candidate. The approach adopted is both modernising and yet respects that fundamental Conservative principle. On this principle rests the independence of Conservative MPs, who are free to be representatives of their constituents and of the national interest, rather than mere party delegates in Parliament. At the meeting of the Convention in October, I was able to reassure constituency chairmen that this principle remains sacrosanct and that the new system can only work by consent and cooperation.

The present system remains fundamentally based on merit, in accordance with your speech last year. Every woman candidate can be proud that she has been selected in competition with the best male candidates we have. This demonstrates attitudes in the party are genuinely being transformed, and this has contributed to the transformation of the Party's standing amongst women. All-women shortlists have achieved no such transformation in the Labour Party, and the Liberal Democrats have yet even to address the paucity of women amongst their MPs.

I would advise you to continue to beware of those who have unrealistic expectations or targets. We have not set out to achieve parity - and nor should we - but we have succeeded in drawing in some really fantastic new women candidates who deserve to be Conservative MPs. I will certainly continue my support for potential women candidates and for Women2Win which I co-founded with Theresa May and Brooks Newmark.

I wish you and John Maples as my successor well. He inherits a wonderful and devoted team who deserve every thanks for their very hard work.

BERNARD JENKIN MP

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