Melton and Rutland MP Sir Alan Duncan reflects on his political career during his last day in the House of Commons
Outgoing MP Sir Alan Duncan has reflected on his life in politics on his final day in the House of Commons.
Sir Alan, who has been at the helm of Rutland’s politics for 27 years, waved farewell on Tuesday.
The Melton and Rutland constituency is widely regarded as one of the safest Conservative seats in the country and it won’t be known until tomorrow which Tory hopeful will contest for the seat that Sir Alan has held for so long.
Having helped Rutland regain its independence from Leicestershire, secured a bypass for Oakham and played a part in negotiating the eviction of Julian Assange from the Ecuador embassy, Sir Alan has decided the time is right to hand over the reins.
Speaking on Tuesday, he said: “I’ve always been a hard-working constituency MP in addition to our main job of making laws and watching over the government.
“It’s the right time to let someone else in. I would have liked to have left when government was more stable and not so muddled, but that’s politics.”
Sir Alan was born in 1957, the son of an RAF officer, and “caught the bug” for politics as a child.
He said: “The first election I remember was in 1970 when I thought ‘if they think they can run the country, why can’t I?’
“That was my ambition, but I didn’t quite make it!”
He studied politics at St John’s College, Oxford, and won a scholarship to Harvard.
He then spent 10 years as an oil trader living in Singapore and was first elected to serve Rutland in 1992.
Sir Alan has won every subsequent election and in 2017 gained more than 62 per cent of the total vote.
He said: “When I was first elected, the main issue at the time was getting Rutland back as an independent county and I got it back in 1996.
“I think it has been very successful as a small but efficient county.
“I know the area inside out. I’ve lived here since I was elected so I know every village and issue.
“I’ve worked hard to preserve the rural character of Rutland.”
Sir Alan only decided last week to stand down when the General Election was announced.
Technology has also played a part in his decision, citing social media, a 24-hour news culture and people sending offensive e-mails as some of the new challenges faced by politicians.
He said: “It’s relentless.
“This is a step into the unknown but I’ll be looking at new business opportunities and will continue to live in Rutland.
“My advice to my successor is to concentrate deeply on the constituency so you know everything about it and are working hard for the public.”