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A post-war record for MPs standing down

Michael Crick | 16:14 UK time, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Wednesday's news from the Conservative MP Robert Key that he is standing down at the next election brings the number of retirements announced so far to 120 according to the BBC tally, though Julie Kirkbride (Conservative) and Andrew Pelling (Independent) may change their minds and stand again after all.

Either way - 118 or 120 - this is a new post-war record.

It exceeds the 116 MPs who stepped down in 1997, and within the next few weeks the total this time is likely to beat the 128 retirements in 1945.

That was at the end of a Parliament which had lasted 10 years, so was bound to be pretty high.

Many MPs do not announce their retirements until the last moment, so on current trends the number stepping down in 2010 could end up well above 150, around a quarter of the House of Commons.

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