ir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, has announced he will stand down at the next general election.
As chairman of the committee since 2010, he has overseen the election of three party leaders and prime ministers – Theresa May, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak – as well as no-confidence votes in Mrs May and Boris Johnson.
Sir Graham was the one to amass letters of no confidence from disgruntled MPs, keeping the number a closely-guarded secret until the threshold to trigger a vote was reached.
The MP for Altrincham and Sale West in Greater Manchester said in a statement that his time in Parliament had been an “immense privilege” as he announced he was bringing “this fascinating and fulfilling chapter of my life to a close”.
I will continue to do everything I can to support the Conservative cause and Rishi Sunak
He joins a slew of senior Tories, including former chancellor Sajid Javid and ex-environment secretary George Eustice, announcing their exit plans amid a polling slump.
Former health secretary Matt Hancock, who was a Conservative until he lost the whip over his I’m A Celebrity appearance, and Dehenna Davison, seen as a rising star in the Tory party, are also among the more than 20 Tories to be quitting the Commons.
In his statement, Sir Graham said: “Representing my hometown in the House of Commons has been an immense privilege for which I will always be grateful.
“My colleagues in the House of Commons have also given me the unique opportunity of chairing the 1922 Committee for longer than anyone else in its 100-year history. I will continue to serve until the end of the Parliament, if they want me to.
“I will continue to do everything I can to support the Conservative cause and Rishi Sunak. He is bringing both stability and vision as Prime Minister.
“In 2024, I will campaign locally and nationally for the return of a Conservative government, that is in the national interest and in the interests of my constituents.
“I will continue to work hard in the service of the residents of Altrincham and Sale West, offering my judgment and experience until the end of the Parliament.
“I have decided to bring this fascinating and fulfilling chapter of my life to a close while I am young enough to pursue other opportunities and interests, so I will not be standing at the next election.”
Sir Graham first won his seat in 1997, shortly before his 30th birthday, making him the youngest Tory MP at the time.
The Brexiteer’s parliamentary career has seen him serve as party whip, shadow education minister, parliamentary private secretary to then-Tory leader Michael Howard, and shadow Europe minister.
Taking on the 1922 chairmanship in 2010, he stepped down briefly as he considered – and decided against – launching a Tory leadership bid after Mrs May quit.
As the group’s chair, he organised those leadership contests – a job that became busier in the recent years of turmoil in the party.
It was his task to establish whether prime ministers commanded the confidence of their MPs, with his visits to No 10 spelling the end of its most recent inhabitants.
At the end of Ms Truss’ tumultuous stint in the top job, she resigned shortly after summoning Sir Graham to Downing Street for discussions on the Conservative mood.
The 55-year-old – who is married with two grown-up children – was knighted in 2018.