Liberal Democrat MP Heidi Allen has said she will stand down as an MP at the next general election, saying she is “heartbroken” over the harassment she has received in British politics.
The ex-Conservative MP and Change UK leader told her South Cambridgeshire constituents that she is “exhausted” by abuse she called “utterly dehumanising”.
“Nobody in any job should have to put up with threats, aggressive emails, being shouted at in the street, sworn at on social media, nor have to install panic alarms at home,” she said.
“Of course public scrutiny is to be expected, but lines are all too regularly crossed and the effect is utterly dehumanising.”
Allen will now not stand at the next general election, likely to take place in December.
“I am heartbroken, but I know i is the right decision because I am no longer delivering the change that drove me into politics in the first place,” Allen added.
She said she was “exhausted by the invasion into my privacy and the nastiness and intimidation that has become commonplace” in British politics.
Allen entered parliament in 2015 as an MP for the Conservative party.
She resigned from the party in February 2019 as one of a number of Tory rebels who quit over then-PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Allen became leader of Change UK before quitting in June following a poor performance in the European elections.
Last month she joined the Liberal Democrats, who are opposed to Brexit.
Allen’s statement came soon after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party will back Boris Johnson’s bid to call a general election on 12 December.
Corbyn has thwarted Johnson’s last three attempts to call an election under the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, which requires a two-thirds majority in the Commons.
The Prime Minister is now set to table a bill that would enshrine a 12 December general election into law. It only requires a simple majority to become an act.
Corbyn said he would back a general election after the EU delayed Brexit until 31 January 2020.
That, Corbyn said, meant “our condition of taking no deal off the table has now been met”.
Image credit: Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament (Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)))