STEPHEN Phillips announces this afternoon that he will trigger another parliamentary by-election by stepping down in the safe Tory territory of Sleaford and North Hyekham in Lincolnshire.
He has been MP there since 2010, but says: “It has become clear to me over the last few months that my growing and very significant policy differences with the current government mean that I am unable properly to represent the people who elected me.”
With Phillips, who voted for Brexit in June, you can wonder whether he would have reached the House of Commons at all if things had taken a different course locally. He might have been content with a role at the Town Hall.
For back in 2008, he was active in the mix here and stood in the Hampstead town by-election where he was beaten by Lib Dem Linda Chung. He had run into the Lib Dems close to the height of their powers and fell 100-odd votes short. If he was standing for the Tories in the ward now, he’d surely win, Brexit fan or not. Nevertheless, two years after his council defeat, a very short healing process was complete as he got the better, bigger job in the Commons.