Portillo to quit as an MP

MICHAEL Portillo is to quit the House of Commons at the next election. The Kensington and Chelsea MP said he had become disengaged from Parliamentary politics and wanted to pursue a career in the media or the arts.

By Graham Dines

MICHAEL Portillo is to quit the House of Commons at the next election. The Kensington and Chelsea MP said he had become disengaged from Parliamentary politics and wanted to pursue a career in the media or the arts.

Mr Portillo, who lost his Enfield-Southgate seat in 1997 only to be elected MP for Kensington & Chelsea in the 1999 by-election, is 50. He served in John Major's Cabinet as Secretary of State for Defence from 1995 to 1997.

He was defeated in the MPs' section of the ballot for the Tory leadership in 2001 and decided not to contest the vacancy caused by the sacking of Iain Duncan Smith last week.


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In a letter to Mr Portillo, the new Tory leader Michael Hoard said: "Over more than 20 years you have made an immense contribution both to the Conservative Party and to our country.

"We are all enormously grateful. Your departure from the House of Commons will be a great loss. I wish you all the best for the futurew," added Mr Howard.

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