South Oxfordshire Conservative Association has failed to confirm who will be John Howell’s replacement after he announced his intention to not contest the Henley constituency again.

The Oxford Mail has approached Mr Howell’s Conservative association to ask for a timetable as to when it is likely the public will know who will stand as the Conservative Party’s candidate.

Until Tuesday’s announcement, Mr Howell remained tight lipped about his political future and had refused to entertain speculation about former prime minister Boris Johnson using the seat to launch a political comeback.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson said to have 'agreed to buy' house near Henley

South Oxfordshire Conservative Association said they were not certain at this point in time when they would know who would replace Mr Howell as the Conservative candidate.

A spokesman for the association said: “South Oxfordshire Conservatives thank John Howell for his service as our Member of Parliament since 2008.

“We will select a new candidate in due course.”

This message of thanks comes after the 67-year-old sent the association a letter on Tuesday which said he had “enjoyed” his time serving as Henley’s MP but was now looking to “pursue other avenues”.

READ MORE: Oxfordshire MP fails to rule out Boris Johnson return

Mr Howell first became Henley’s MP in 2008 when Mr Johnson triggered a by election after he was elected Mayor of London.

The seat was won by Mr Howell in four general elections and in 2019 his majority over the Liberal Democrats stood at 14,053.


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Mr Howell also reiterated his support for the prime minister Rishi Sunak.

He said: “I am a strong supporter of Rishi Sunak and I hope that the South Oxfordshire Conservative Association will continue to get behind him.”

READ MORE: Oxfordshire MP announces decision to retire

As well as leading the British delegation to the Council of Europe, Mr Howell has previously served as a parliamentary private secretary to several ministers.

Amid speculation that Mr Johnson may choose to swap his marginal Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency for Henley, his spokesman confirmed that the former prime minister would remain with his west London seat.

Mr Johnson previously served as Henley’s MP between 2001 and 2008.

In February, it was reported that Mr Johnson had 'agreed to buy' a multi million pound house in Oxfordshire and this added fuel to speculation concerning his seat.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: “Boris Johnson is standing in Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the next general election and was recently reselected as the Conservative candidate there.”

Mr Johnson holds a majority of 7,210 in his Uxbridge constituency and his allies have rejected suggestions he would choose to move to a safer seat as part of a renewed leadership bid.

With the Conservative Party trailing the Labour Party in the polls, a number of well known Conservative MPs have decided to ‘throw in the towel’, including the former chancellor Sajid Javid, I’m a Celebrity contestant Matt Hancock and Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 committee.

This most recent decision from a Tory to not stand again brings the number of Conservative MPs quitting politics up to 30.