Nickie Aiken announces she will not seek re-election

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Nickie Aiken
Credit Houses of Parliament

The Conservative MP for Westminster and the City of London, Nickie Aiken, has announced she is standing down at the next election. In a statement, she said the decision is due to her husband, Alex Aiken, taking a job overseas, for which “he deserves my full support as he pursues a new career”.

Ms Aiken has represented the areas since 2019 when she replaced former MP Mark Field. Prior to that, she was a Westminster councillor for more than a decade, where she rose to become leader of the local authority.

She has, among other issues, fought for pedicabs legislation to be introduced by Parliament, in a bid to regulate drivers operating in the capital. Before a pedicabs bill being included in the King’s Speech last year, Ms Aiken told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “This is a no-brainer. We don’t know how safe the vehicles are. We don’t know if the drivers are fit to take passengers and there is no regulation whatsoever. This is the Wild West of transport and it needs to be regulated and it needs to be regulated urgently.”

In her statement announcing her decision to not seek the nomination as the Conservative Party candidate, Ms Aiken wrote: “It has been the greatest honour of my life to be an elected public servant for 18 years, first as a Westminster City Councillor, where I held Cabinet Member positions before becoming Council Leader and latterly as the Member of Parliament for the Cities of London and Westminster, the first woman to represent the City in Parliament.

“I have been privileged to represent the most diverse and vibrant part of London, with its rich culture and history.

“This is not a decision I have taken lightly. My husband, Alex, who has supported me steadfastly throughout my political career, has accepted a job offer overseas and he deserves my full support as he pursues a new career.

“I will always be grateful for the support of the wonderful people of the City of London and the City of Westminster, local councillors and my Conservative Association.”

Ms Aiken added she remains loyal to “my Party and our Prime Minister”, and will continue to work on local campaigns including e-bike regulation, leasehold reform, and the pedicabs licensing scheme.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said Mr Aiken, currently an Executive Director for Government Communication, will leave the Civil Service in April “to take up a new role as a communications advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the United Arab Emirates”.

They added: “He has worked in the Cabinet Office for the last decade, serving as Executive Director, Government Communication.

“His new role has been vetted through the Cabinet Office Business Appointment Rules process. He will abide by the standard conditions governing senior civil service external appointments.”

Ms Aiken joins a list of colleagues, including former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and Sajid Javid, who have said they will not stand at the next General Election, expected later this year.

The Cities of London and Westminster has been Conservative since its inception, with Ms Aiken’s predecessor, Mr Field, holding it for almost 20 years. Current Tower Hamlets councillor Rachel Blake (Labour) and journalist Edward Lucas (Liberal Democrats) are among those already announced to contest the seat.

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