Scarborough and Whitby MP Sir Robert Goodwill to step down at next general election after 18 years
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Sir Robert Goodwill, 66, has served as the constituency’s MP for 18 years, winning five elections.
He was elected for the first time in 2005 when he regained the historically “safe” Conservative seat from Labour MP Lawrie Quinn, which was previously Tory-held from 1918 until Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997.
Sir Robert said he did not want “to go on too long” as an MP due to his age and family interests.
In a letter provided to The Scarborough News, Sir Robert wrote: “Although fit and well, I am now 66-years-old and with an election expected next year another term would take me into my 70s, I have therefore decided not to submit my name for re-election.
“Too many MPs go on too long in my experience. Now is the time to let someone else younger take over.
“I will certainly not take my foot off the pedal in the time remaining and, indeed, as chair of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, I have my work cut out.
“We still respond to up to 500 Constituents every month – sorting out problems and listening to your views as well as the regular surgeries.
“Scarborough and Whitby have come a long way since 2005 with many tangible improvements in recreational, educational and work opportunities here on the coast.
“CU Scarborough, the University Technical College, sports village, the £100m McCain facility and Woodsmith Mine to name just a few. We still have Britain’s two premier resorts although there is still work to be done to improve transport links.”
Sir Robert has served as a Whip and Minister of State in four Government departments under David Cameron and Theresa May – the first MP from the Scarborough and Whitby constituency to do so since the Second World War.
He fought hard for dualling the A64, as Minister of State for Transport introduced roadside drug testing legislation to remove unfit drivers from the road and now chairs the select committee investigating the crustacean die-off along the Yorkshire Coast.
In the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List in 2022 he was awarded a knighthood and appointed a Knight Bachelor for political and public service.
“I have not had a single day off since 2005 – except for weekends or holidays,” he said. “I don't want to go on too long [so] I decided that rather than be the elder statesman I’d retire.”
Sir Robert is a farmer in Terrington, near Malton, where his family has owned 250 acres of land since 1850.
“We still have the farm,” he said. “And a second grandchild is on the way so I will have plenty to keep me occupied. My wife Maureen will be seeing more of me too.
“[There are] plenty of things to do there. One of the steam engines needs a little attention and I’ve not been able to get to as many tractor rallies as I would like.”
He attended the Quaker Bootham School in York and Newcastle University, where he graduated with a degree in agriculture in 1979.
Sir Robert also dismissed rumours that he would put himself forward to be Mayor of North Yorkshire, which he said is “absolutely not the case”.