Howard Stoate, MP for Dartford since 1997, has announced today that he will not be seeking re-election at the next general election. Dr Stoate says in his statement that he does not feel post-Expensesgate that he would be able to continue doing some work as a GP whilst remaining an MP and that he therefore has taken the decision not to seek re-election.
This a boost to Conservative candidate Gareth Johnson (pictured), who fought Dartford in 2005, losing then by a mere 706 votes. He now requires a swing of 1% to gain the seat, having been reselected in October 2006. He recently wrote the Diary of a PPC feature for Conservative Home about his campaign to win the seat at his second attempt.