Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan will not stand at general election citing 'clear impact' of abuse

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks

Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan has announced she will not stand as a candidate in the upcoming general election, citing family commitments and abuse she has received in her role for her departure.

The Culture Secretary made the announcement on Twitter hours after former ministers David Lidington and Amber Rudd confirmed they too will not seek re-election, and a day after another female MP said she too will not run again due to the abuse she has suffered.

It is understood that Ms Morgan's - who has been Loughborough MP since 2010 - decision is for the personal reasons she set out in her letter rather than any political comment.

  • ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston on the abuse suffered by female MPs

In a letter to the Loughborough Conservatives chairman Trevor Ransom, the 47-year-old said: "The clear impact on my family and the other sacrifices involved in, and the abuse for, doing the job of a modern MP can only be justified if, ultimately, Parliament does what it is supposed to do - represent those we serve in all areas of policy, respect votes cast by the electorate and make decisions in the overall national interest."

In a letter shared on Twitter, she added being an MP for Loughborough has been the "greatest privilege" of her life and thanked David Cameron and Boris Johnson for selecting her as part of their Cabinet teams.

Ms Morgan's announcement came as two former ministers - David Lidington and Amber Rudd - both announced their plans to step down.

Sir David, who was effectively Theresa May's deputy, announced his resignation just hours after his colleague Ms Rudd.

The Aylesbury MP also cited the "heavy cost " of politics on family life as being behind his decision to stand down.

On Tuesday, former Conservative MP and current Liberal Democrat Heidi Allen announced she will not stand for re-election citing the "nastiness and intimidation" she has received.

Former Cabinet ministers David Lidington and Amber Rudd are both standing down. Credit: PA

He announced he will not stand at the next general election, citing the "heavy cost" of politics on family life in a letter to The Bucks Herald.

As ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand says, the resignations reveal a "significant exodus is taking place from the 'one nation' benches".

Ms Rudd, the MP for Hastings and Rye, who had a majority of just 346 at the last election, resigned from the Cabinet and surrendered the Tory whip over Brexit in September.

The former home secretary said she would be leaving the Commons on "perfectly good terms" with Boris Johnson and said she wanted him to succeed.

But after she announced her resignation it transpired on Twitter that she had been sent a letter from the chief whip Mark Spencer, who informed her that he would not be readmitting her into the Tory Party.

In the letter he said: "Receipt of the whip is an honour, not a right and it cannot be discarded or returned at will."

But Ms Rudd responded, claiming on Twitter that "just last week the PM asked me to stand in the General Election".

She added: "Afraid the Chief Whip has been briefed by the wrong “No 10 Sources” this morning but nonetheless I respect the decision he had been asked to make."

She announced that she would stand down as an MP in an interview with the Evening Standard on Wednesday.

But she said: "I'm not finished with politics, I'm just not standing at this election."

Mr Lidington, writing for the Bucks Herald, said he had "come to the conclusion" that now was the time to "give a higher priority in terms of my time and energy" to his family.

He told ITV News he wanted to find "balance" in his life while he still has time to enjoy life with his family.

"None of us know how many years we're going to have left," he said, "and I came to the view that now is the right time to step down, due to those reasons."

The resignation brings an end to a colourful career as a Conservative MP that lasted over a quarter century.

"I've done 20 years on the front bench, first in opposition then nearly a decade in government," he said.

"When you've that length of time and you face an election you've got to think, not just 'am I up for an election', which I would be but am I prepared mentally to commit myself wholeheartedly to another five years after that election."

Aside from being Prime Minister May's de facto deputy, Mr Lidington held government roles including leader of the House of Commons and minister for the Cabinet Office.

His time on the frontbenches came to and end when Boris Johnson became prime minister and relieved Mr Lidington of his duties.

He later became one of the 21 Tories to be ousted from the party after voting against the government on Brexit.

'Happier times': Both David Lidington and Amber Rudd were in Theresa May's Cabinet. Credit: PA

During her time in government, Remain supporting Ms Rudd faced several difficult moments, both Brexit related and otherwise.

After being promoted to home secretary by then-Prime Minister Theresa May, she was forced to resign over the Windrush Scandal and immigration.

She was seen to have taken the blame for her predecessor Mrs May, who introduced a "hostile environment" policy on immigration which led to many of the Windrush generation battling against deportation.

The final blow for her tenure as home secretary was when she claimed to a select committee that there were no targets for the removal of illegal immigrants, despite actually setting those targets herself.

While in Theresa May's government Ms Rudd was one of the prime minister's closest allies. Credit: PA

Following the select committee hearing, Ms Rudd handed in her resignation.

She was eventually brought back into the fray by Mr May, who appointed her work and pensions secretary.

She was kept in the role when Prime Minister Johnson took over, but she struggled to stay loyal to his Brexit policy and eventually quit.

Her decision last month to quit the Cabinet came after 21 of her colleagues lost the Tory whip when they backed a plan to take control of the Commons timetable to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.

As she quit she cited the "assault on democracy and decency" over Mr Johnson’s decision to expel the rebels.

Ten of the MPs had the whip restored on Tuesday evening.

Asked if she had any regrets, Ms Rudd said: "I felt I made the right steps at those critical points and I am pleased that the Prime Minister has now restored the whip to some of those colleagues."

She did not rule out a return to Westminster in the future, but said there were "many other things I want to do".

  • The make up of the Commons is set to change as big beasts head for the door:

Amber Rudd and David Lidington are by no means the only big names to be leaving the House of Commons this election.

No matter what the result of the election turns out to be, several other distinguished parliamentarians from across the House will be leaving Westminster.

Perhaps the most well-known MP leaving is Speaker of the House John Bercow, who may now have shouted "order" for the final time.

In September he announced he would be bringing an end to his ten year tenure as speaker after being an MP since 1997.

Someone else will now assume the role of speaker. Credit: House of Commons

Ken Clarke, the UK's longest serving MP - otherwise known as the Father of the House - is also leaving after representing Rushcliffe since 1970.

During his almost five decades in Westminster, Europhile Mr Clarke served in Tory governments for 20 of those years.

But he, along with 20 other Tories, was booted out the party by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in September after rebelling against the government over Brexit.

Ken Clarke - the Father of the House - will leave before the result of the election. Credit: House of Commons

Another well-known, well-respected MP leaving Parliament is Sir Vince Cable.

He's had a tumultuous time since being elected to represent Twickenham in 1997 but will leave the Commons on a high.

He was given a role in Cabinet when the Tories formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 2010, with Sir Vince becoming business secretary.

Sir Vince Cable, 76, has had a tumultuous time in Westminster Credit: PA

But in 2015 he was seen to have been punished by voters for the Lib Dems' performance in coalition and he lost his seat.

The 76-year-old won it back in 2017 and became party leader, taking over from Tim Farron.

Earlier this year he announced he would be retiring as an MP and stepped aside as leader to make way for Jo Swinson.

There are dozens of other MPs who have announced they will leave the Commons.

The most high profile among them are Sir Nicholas Soames, Rory Stewart, Sir Oliver Letwin, Jo Johnson, Kate Hoey, Justine Greening, Sir Michael Fallon and Sir Alan Duncan.