[<< wikinews] British Conservative leader Michael Howard to step down
Friday, May 6, 2005 
Speaking in Putney, London, where the Conservative candidate won the seat from Labour, Michael Howard has announced that he will not fight in the next General Election.
The Conservative leader stated that he would be 67 or 68 by the time of the next election, an age he believed to be too old to lead a party into power. Therefore, he would be making way for a successor so he or she can be well-established before the next election.
Howard stated that he would first reform the selection process for a new party leader before resigning, to avoid long debates about the party's leadership.
He added that the Conservative party could "hold its head high", after gaining thirty seats in the General Election.
Many of the Tory party members and journalists gathered at Putney expressed their surprise at his decision.

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