Mr Prisk has written the following letter to his Association Chairman, which he subsequently released to the press and social media:
I am writing to you to say that, after some reflection, I have decided not to seek re-election at the coming General Election. This has been a difficult decision, but I have always believed that if you seek election it must be whole hearted and that you should be committed to serve a whole five-year Parliament. I cannot make that commitment.
It has been a privilege and pleasure to serve the constituency for eighteen years and I am proud of my work on behalf of my constituents and also my work at Westminster, in Government as a Minister of State and in Parliament. The fact I increased my share of the vote at every re-election gives me confidence that my constituents felt I was doing my job properly.
I have been fortunate. I am hugely grateful to my wife Lesley who has always encouraged and supported me. I want to thank my hard-working staff for their dedication to serving the people of Hertford & Stortford. I also want to thank many long-standing members of our local councils, community organisations and charities and the Conservative Association who have worked with and supported me over the years.
This decision is personal and is not in reaction to Brexit. At 57 I feel now is the time for me to move on to the next phase of my life and a new career. I do, however, lament the wider decline in public discourse and the rise of narrow ideology over pragmatic, common sense. Democracy in the UK, as elsewhere, needs us to listen and think, before we speak. A healthy society needs us to respect others’ views and to seek out ways we can work together. Too often these values are being ignored, which I deeply regret.
I want to thank you and the other Association officers for your support and to wish you well in choosing my successor. I will of course continue to fulfil my responsibilities as MP up to the day Parliament is dissolved.
Mark Prisk FRICS MP