New CFWD research has found that Conservative women are standing down from Parliament at the next election at a greater rate than any other group.
Conservative women intending not to stand again at the next election have served an average of five years; for Labour women this rises to 25, and for Labour men 20. Conservative men standing down have served an average of 26 years.
The research also looked at the pattern of retirements and promotion to cabinet office for both men and women first elected in 1997, and found that:
Commenting on the research, CFWD Director Nan Sloane said: 'We know that something ususual is happening with the rate of retirment of Conservative women MPs, and this demonstrates that that perception is true, if only because women MPs generally tend to serve reasonably long terms of office. It's too early to tell yet whether (as some people suggest) the problem lies with the Conservative Party itself, or whether there was something signifcantly different about the way in which these women were recruited, or the backgrounds from which they came, which has made Parliament less congenial to them than to their male counterparts.'
She added that it was unlikely that the problem is simply the much-discussed culture of Parliament alone, since women from other parties are not retiring at the same rate.
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