"Much has changed in the last two years since I was selected. The need to spend more time on my business in London due to the recession means I am not able to commit the time to the constituency that I believe a candidate needs to in order to win this seat for the Conservatives. I am grateful to everyone in the Association who has supported me over these past two and a quarter years and I look forward to supporting the new candidate in whatever way I can in the future."
Paul Lally, the association chairman accepted Mark's decision with regret:
"We have regretfully accepted Mark's decision to step down. The recession has affected all our lives and we respect Mark's integrity in taking this course of action. We thank Mark for the time and effort that he has given to Stretford and Urmston over the last two years and wish him, his wife and two young sons all the best for the future."
The association will begin selecting a new candidate later this month for a seat which is currently held for Labour by Beverly Hughes, who is herself standing down at the election. The new Conservative candidate will need a swing of 10.65% to overturn a notional Labour majority of 8,310.
The defeated candidates at the open primary in July 2007 were James Atkins and Suhail Rahuja.