John Horam has announced that he is retiring as MP for Orpington at the next General Election.
John Horam is said to be unique – the only person to have sat in the House of Commons representing three different political parties (Labour 1970-81; SDP 1981-83; Conservative 1992-date). I had met him once when he was a Labour MP, but I had dealings with him when he was a junior (Conservative) health minister and also on policing matters as MP for Orpington – I always found him very courteous and conscientious.
His retirement, however, creates another vacancy amongst London Tory MPs and his seat will be being eyed hungrily by ambitious members of Mayor Boris Johnson’s team. I have already commented that Mayor Boris Johnson may find himself running London on his own by next summer.
So who will be after the Orpington vacancy? The seat falls within the Assembly Division represented by James Cleverly AM. He is in the enviable position of having two Parliamentary vacancies opening up within his patch – the other is Beckenham where Jacqui Lait is retiring. However, one of his colleagues, Gareth Bacon MP (who is also a Bexley Councillor) is said to be interested as well.