I have had tremendous support from my local party, my family and friends
but have concluded that it is time to step down. I stand by what I have
said in relation to the report by the Commissioner of Standards and do not wish
to add to those comments at this time. Since joining the Conservative Party
nearly 40 years ago I have had the privilege of serving in public office since
1974 and have done so to the best of my ability.
I have advised the Chief Whip and the chairman of my local Conservative
Association that I shall not seek to continue as the Conservative Party
Candidate for Old Bexley and Sidcup at the next election. Though not an
original supporter of David Cameron for the leadership of my party, I believe
that he has shown he has both the ability and the character to be Prime Minister
of our country and I do not wish my personal circumstances to be a distraction
in any way from the real issues that have to be addressed.
On a personal level I feel very sorry that it has come to this, but for the good of the Party Derek has done the right thing. Even those who feel he has let them down in other ways, will, I hope accept that.
The last forty hours have not shown the Conservative Party in its best light. The baying mob is something I hope not to see again for a very long time. Whatever Derek did or did not do he did not deserve some of the comments that have been thrown his way.
The original blogpost I wrote on Monday night on the subject has also drawn widespread criticism both here and elsewhere. I make no apology for it and I refute any charge of hypocrisy. Name me a friend of Peter Hain who publicly called for him to resign. Name me any friend of Wendy Alexander who called for her head. It's actually got nothing to do with tribal party politics. It's all to do with basic human decency and how you define friendship. I would not expect Peter Hain's friends to call for his resignation. Some of the people who reckon I should have publicly slagged Derek off should look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves how they define friendship. Does it include running from their friends at the first whiff of grapeshot? If so, they're not the kind of friends I would want.