MEP Vicky Ford drops out of race (before it had even properly started!) to be Cambs mayor claiming you can’t do two jobs at once

Vicky Ford MEP

Vicky Ford MEP - Credit: Archant

Widely tipped as a favourite for selection by her party, MEP Vicky Ford has decided not to seek the Tory nomination to become Cambridgeshire’s first elected mayor.

And in rejecting calls from within her party to stand, she also took a wry dig at her political colleague Heidi Allen who wants to remain an MP and combine it with being mayor.

Ms Ford doesn’t believe it is possible, in her own case, to remain an MEP and stand for mayor.

“Some people have suggested that I could offer to act as both MEP and mayor,” she said. “However, both my current role as your MEP and the new role of mayor are, at this present time, positions that I believe need and deserve the full attention of their elected office holder.

“Some have suggested I could choose to stand down as MEP to stand for mayor. However, the people of the East of England elected me as an MEP and I believe it is my duty to them that I do all I can to facilitate the best outcome for the UK and our European neighbours by continuing to serve in the MEP role over the coming critical months.”

She said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that the European Parliament, and especially the committees of the Parliament, will have a major role on the negotiation,” she said.

“In my role as MEP I hold the position of chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market. This means that I am the sole UK Conservative member of the EU’s senior Conference of Committee Chairs; this role allows me to raise issues that affect both the UK and the rest of the EU at the highest levels.

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“This position comes up for election again on January 26, 2017 and it is important that members of the Committee see my unwavering commitment to this important role.”

Ms Ford said: “The UK is embarking on negotiations that will define our future relationship with the EU and which will affect all of our cities, counties and country for at least a generation.

“It is of paramount importance that we ensure a constructive relationship with the European Union following our exit.

“I believe that my role as your MEP is to help the UK to maintain good relationships with allies across Europe. It is vital that our negotiations are as constructive, pragmatic and amicable as possible, and that the UK and EU avoid an acrimonious divorce.

“The Prime Minister has asked her MEPs to do all they can to help achieve the best outcome at this crucial time.”

Other Tory hopefuls for mayor include East Cambs Council leader James Palmer; I understand Cambs County Council leader Steve Count is yet to make up his mind whether to contest the £70,000 role.

Candidates have until 5pm today (Fri) to let Tory head office officials know if they are interested in standing.

Independent Peter Dawe is also a declared candidate: Labour and Lib Dems are engaged in a selection process.