That a number of MPs have chosen to stand down is not unusual in itself.

There is always a certain amount of churn at every election.

What is different on this occasion is  the number of women MPs leaving and the number of moderate Tories  who have decided to quit.

The departure of MPs such as Amber Rudd, Justine Greening and Nicky Morgan marks the end of the David Cameron modernisation project and  is further evidence of how the  Conservatives are being recast as the party of the libertarian right.

Boris Johnson may claim he represents traditional One Nation Toryism but the cast list of candidates tells a different story.

This is of lesser concern than the large number of women, in all parties, who have decided to stand down.

In her letter announcing she was standing down  Nicky Morgan cited the impact on her family of the abuse  she receives.

She is not alone. 

Justine Greening is another moderate Tory MP quitting at this election

Women MPs are far more likely to be victims of hatred and abuse, including death threats.

ITV’s Paul Brand told last night how one female MP received 2,000 abusive messages in a single week.

This is why there was such fury when  Boris Johnson recently dismissed as humbug  the genuine concerns of Labour’s Paula Sherriff about her safety and that of her colleagues.

It is also why MPs take exception when the Conservatives and their cheerleaders in the right-wing press persist in slurring Parliament and its politicians as “rotten” and “anti democratic”.

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These insults feed the toxic culture of hate and gives licence to the trolls and thugs behind the abuse and intimidation.

If the Conservative leadership runs a people versus parliament election campaign they will only exacerbate this nasty environment, potentially putting lives at risk and driving more women away from politics.

Jeremy Corbyn kicks off Labour’s campaign with a speech aimed more at rallying the troops than winning over converts.

Boris Johnson is not dead and not in a ditch despite his Brexit promise

In his sights are the “elite” ruining Britain and he name checks Rupert Murdoch and Mike Ashley among the “tax dodgers, bad bosses, big polluters, and billionaire-owned media holding our country back.”

Today, of course, is the day we should have left the EU  if Boris Johnson had kept his “do or die” promise.

The Prime Minister is marking the occasion by doing everything he can to distract attention from the fact he is not lying dead in a ditch, which he once claimed was his preference should he fail to have met his Halloween pledge, and will be on campaign visits to a school and a hospital.

The real trick or treat moment today could come from the Brexit Party. There is speculation Nigel Farage’s outfit may decide not to contest hundreds of seats to give the Tories a clear run against Labour.

Today’s agenda:

9.30am – Theresa Villiers takes Environment, Food and Rural Affairs questions in the Commons.

10am – Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour’s election campaign with a speech in London.

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10.30am – Jacob Rees-Mogg gives weekly update on House of Commons business, followed by tributes to the Speaker’s chaplain.

What I am reading:

James Kirkup in the Times (£) on the issues that should decide the election

and

How London could hold the key to the election





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