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Women’s organisations have expressed alarm at the number of female MPs standing down at the upcoming general election who have cited the abuse they face in public office.

Figures suggest female MPs are retiring from parliament prematurely. Of the 58 politicians who have announced they will not stand again, 18 are women and 41 are men, which is roughly proportional to the current makeup of parliament.

However, since cohorts of retiring MPs usually reflect historical intakes, the expectation would be that the number of outgoing female parliamentarians would be lower.

Among Tory ranks, the female MPs stepping down are on average 10 years younger and have spent a decade less in parliament than retiring male MPs.

The cabinet minister Nicky Morgan has said she will not be standing as a candidate, with one of her reasons being the abuse she has received. The former home secretary Amber Rudd is also among the moderate Tory MPs who have said they will not fight the election on 12 December.

Heidi Allen, the former Conservative MP who defected to the Liberal Democrats via Change UK, also said she would not stand, highlighting “the nastiness and intimidation that has become commonplace”.

Sam Smethers, the chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said it was extremely worrying that so many women were leaving parliament at the election and had cited “either the abuse they have received or the pressure it has put on their family life”. Read more

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