MP John Redwood has hit back at claims that he won't stand again in the coming re-election because he’s worried the Conservatives will lose.

Wokingham’s Conservative MP of 37 years announced on Friday, May 24, that he won’t stand as a candidate in the general election of July 4. But he insisted he’s still ‘extremely concerned’ to ensure a Conservative government is re-elected in an interview with the News.

He said: “It was a recent decision to stand down and I’m sure I’ll say more about it after the election. There’s a very important election underway and I’m extremely concerned we get a Conservative government.”

Mr Redwood added that he would continue to campaign in Wokingham if asked to by the Conservatives’ new candidate as ‘I know the place well'.

READ MORE: John Redwood steps down after 37 years as Wokingham’s MP

Emma Webster, chairwoman of the Berkshire area Conservatives, said local Tories were ‘saddened’ by Mr Redwood’s sudden decision not to stand. It came despite the fact that Wokingham Conservatives selected him as their candidate as early as February last year.

Liberal Democrat candidate Clive Jone said he believed Mr Redwood made the decision ‘because he knew he wasn’t going to win at the general election'.

But Mr Redwood dismissed that claim. He said: “I have no wish to waste my time talking about Liberal Democrat propaganda.

“Every time I fought this seat – and I fought it nine times – the Liberal Democrats said they were going to win.

“They always start off with some leaflet based on some polling saying Liberal Democrats are going to win here – and they never are.”

Mr Redwood also said it had been ‘a privilege and a pleasure’ to have represented Wokingham in parliament since 1987.

He said: “Wokingham is a better, stronger and more prosperous place than when I came. Throughout, unemployment in Wokingham has been well below the national average and I think that’s a very good achievement.

“My team in parliament have provided a high standard of service to constituents. It’s been our job to look after them and I hope we’ve done it well.”

He added that he never shied away from telling a constituent when he disagreed with them as ‘I’ve always believed in openness, clarity, decency, honesty'.

Liberal Democrat Clive Jones said the results of local elections this month show he is ‘best placed to deliver change’ in Wokingham.

READ MORE: Labour announces candidate in Wokingham

He said: “People in Wokingham want change - they’ve been telling me this on the doorstep for the last three years and the local election results this year were clear.

“The Lib Dems received 47 per cent of the votes in the Wokingham constituency compared to 35 per cent for the Conservatives.”

Labour candidate Monica Hamidi posted on X – formerly Twitter – that Wokingham had been ‘let down’ by the Conservative government.

She said: “Wokingham has been let down again and again by a government that has sent taxes up, ruined public services and failed to grow the economy. John Redwood has given 37 years of public service, and he sees that it is time for change too.”