Tearful MPs erupted into a round of applause after a Labour MP delivered an emotionally charged speech about the domestic abuse her former partner subjected her to.

Rosie Duffield, the MP for Canterbury, earned a standing ovation after recounting the abuse she was forced to endure during a debate on the domestic abuse bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday. 

Ms Duffield described how her fiancé, who she got engaged to shortly after she was elected for the first time in 2017, subjected her to a campaign of coercive control and became progressively psychologically abusive towards her.

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“The soap-opera scenes only tend to focus on one or two aspects of a much bigger and more complex picture,” she told MPs.

“The faces of those who survive” domestic abuse are varied, she said, adding it is likely some of the 650 MPs in parliament will have experienced such abuse. “We are just as likely as anyone else to have grown up in a violent household,” the politician added.

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UK news in pictures

Shape Created with Sketch.
UK news in pictures

1/50 2 October 2019

Ex-Thomas Cook employees demonstrate in London on October 2, 2019, after delivering a petition calling for a full inquiry into Thomas Cook’s collapse and for the company’s directors to pay back their bonuses. – British travel firm Thomas Cook collapsed on September 23, leaving hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers stranded and sparking the UK’s biggest repatriation since World War II.

2/50 1 October 2019

A road in Alum Rock, Birmingham is flooded after persistent heavy rain

3/50 30 September 2019

Two tourists pose for pictures in front of Union and EU flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London

4/50 29 September 2019

A sheep on London Bridge as Freemen of the City of London took up their historic entitlement to drive sheep over the bridge, which was once London’s only river crossing

5/50 28 September 2019

An Aldabra giant tortoise is fed watermelon as a treat at the Malvern Autumn Show, at the Three Counties Showground near Malvern in Worcestershire

6/50 27 September 2019

Gallery assistants pose with an artwork entitled ‘Devolved Parliament’ by British artist Banksy, during a press view in London ahead of Sotheby’s contemporary art sale, as part of the Frieze Art Fair

7/50 26 September 2019

England’s Jonathan Joseph is tackled by United State’s Marcel Brache during their group match at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. England scored seven tries on their way to winning 45-7

8/50 25 September 2019

Tributes for former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen at Ibrox Stadium. Today, the funeral procession will pass Ibrox Stadium before making the journey to Wellington Church

9/50 24 September 2019

A person dressed as a caricature of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a prison uniform stands outside the Supreme Court after it ruled that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal

10/50 23 September 2019

Thomas Cook aircraft are parked up at Manchester Airport on the day they collapsed after rescue talks failed. A total of 22,000 jobs – including 9,000 in UK – are to be lost following administration. More than 150,000 British holidaymakers need to be brought home, with the government and CAA hiring dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge

11/50 22 September 2019

Fire performer Penella Bee performs before people take part in the North East Skinny Dip at Druridge Bay in Nothumberland, an annual event that marks the Autumn Equinox and raises money for MIND – the Mental Health Charity

12/50 21 September 2019

Protesters gather for a march and rally organised by “The People’s Vote” in Brighton, to call for politicians to give the public a final say referendum on Brexit

13/50 20 September 2019

Protesters in London joined millions across world to demand urgent action to save planet in the largest environmental protest in history

14/50 19 September 2019

Rapper Dave poses with the Mercury Prize: Albums of the Year Award at Apollo

15/50 18 September 2019

A surfer in action during sunrise at Tynemouth on the north east coast

16/50 17 September 2019

Protesters dressed as the Incredible Hulk and Robocop outside the Supreme Court in London where judges are due to consider legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament. The Supreme Court will hear appeals over three days from two separate challenges to the prorogation of Parliament brought in England and Scotland

17/50 16 September 2019

Farmer Tom Hoggard harvests pumpkins at Howe Bridge Farm in Yorkshire, ahead of Halloween

18/50 15 September 2019

Team Europe celebrate winning the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland. Europe won the last three singles matches to claim victory 14½-13½
Sunset at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay

20/50 13 September 2019

Activists from PETA stage a demonstration outside a venue during London Fashion Week in London, Britain

21/50 12 September 2019

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne attempts to stop a boundary in the fifth Test

22/50 11 September 2019

Storm clouds gather over the pier just off the North East coast at South Shields

23/50 10 September 2019

The peloton rides past the Angel of the North during stage four of the Tour of Britain from Gateshead to Kendal

24/50 9 September 2019

A penny farthing cyclist rides past St. John’s, Smith Square, Westminster, London

25/50 8 September 2019

Australia celebrate the wicket of England’s Craig Overton, which meant they won the fourth test and retained the Ashes

26/50 7 September 2019

Manchester City celebrate after Caroline Weir scored during their Women’s Super League match against Manchester United at Etihad Stadium. The WSL attendance record was smashed with 31,213 people watching the first Manchester derby of Women’s Super League era – nearly six times the previous WSL record

27/50 6 September 2019

A bull bumps into a plain clothes police officer (left) while being walked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Darnford Farm in Banchory near Aberdeen. It coincided with the publication of Lord Bew’s review and an announcement of extra funding for Scottish farmers

28/50 5 September 2019

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cuts the hair of David Torrance MSP raising £1000 for the charity Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

29/50 4 September 2019

Australia’s David Warner looks dejected after being dismissed by England’s Stuart Broad during day one of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester

30/50 3 September 2019

Anti Brexit demonstrators attend a protest at Parliament Square. Lawmakers returned from their summer recess Tuesday for a pivotal day in British politics as they challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence that the UK leave the European Union on 31 October, even without a withdrawal agreement to cushion the economic blow

31/50 2 September 2019

Set building begins on Waterloo Place in Edinburgh ahead of filming for Fast and Furious 9

32/50 1 September 2019

Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club take part during the annual cricket match between the clubs, which takes place on the Bramble Bank sandbank in the middle of the Solent at low tide
Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate at Whitehall in London

34/50 30 August 2019

One of the iconic ‘Girl with Balloon’ artworks by anonymous street artist Banksy is carried near one of the original locations the artwork appeared at on the Southbank in London

35/50 29 August 2019

The sun rises over the sculpture “The Couple” by artist Sean Henry, at Newbiggin-by-the-sea in Northumberland

36/50 28 August 2019

A person wearing a Boris Johnson ‘head’ digs a grave at the foot of a tombstone during a protest organised by Avaaz and Best for Britain, outside Downing Street in London

37/50 27 August 2019

Nat Lofthouse statue is covered in flags at the University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton

38/50 26 August 2019

Performers take part in Notting Hill Carnival. Nearly one million people were expected to attend Sunday and Monday’s carnival to celebrate Caribbean culture

39/50 25 August 2019

A competitor swims in the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwryd Wells, Powys

40/50 24 August 2019

People flock to Bournemouth beach as a heatwave spells potentially record high temperatures for the bank holiday weekend

41/50 23 August 2019

Fans of Bury FC deliver a symbolic coffin to the club’s home at Gigg Lane as the continuation of their membership to the football league lies in doubt. The club will lose their membership at midnight if they don’t find a buyer or prove that they have the means to pay off their debts

42/50 22 August 2019

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow DEFRA Secretary Sue Hayman during a visit to Rakefoot Farm, Castlerigg, Keswick where they are highlighting the danger of a No Deal Brexit to sheep farmers

43/50 21 August 2019

Festival goers walk along the towpath of the River Thames as they arrive for the Reading Festival at Richfield Avenue

44/50 20 August 2019

Police officers gather to pay their respects at the scene near Ufton Lane, where Thames Valley Police officer PC Andrew Harper, 28, died on Thursday. Jed Foster, 20, has appeared at Reading Magristrates’ Court where denied any involvement with the murder

45/50 19 August 2019

A fire that broke out at the site of Village Bakery on Coed Aben Road, Wrexham Industrial Estate in Wales

46/50 18 August 2019

England fielders crowd Pat Cummins as he see’s out the final over during day five of the second Ashes Test match against Australia at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The test ended in a draw

47/50 17 August 2019

Glew (centre) and Monroe Adams (right) pose for a selfie with a member of the public outside DragWorld London 2019, Europe’s largest drag convention, featuring drag stars from the US and UK during a two-day event at Olympia, London

48/50 16 August 2019

A grey seal with fishing net tangled around its neck amongst the colony on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk, as RSPCA data show the number of animals affected by plastic litter is at an all-time high, with incidents increasing by 22% in just four years

49/50 15 August 2019

A flock of sheep are herded past government buildings in London by members of Farmers for a People’s Vote, a campaign group

50/50 14 August 2019

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during a press conference at the Mayflower Marina in Plymouth, southwest England, on August 14, 2019, ahead of her journey across the Atlantic to New York, aboard the Malizia II IMOCA class sailing yacht, where she will attend the UN Climate Action Summit next month. – A year after her school strike made her a figurehead for climate activists, Greta Thunberg believes her uncompromising message about global warming is getting through — even if action remains thin on the ground. The 16-year-old Swede, who sets sail for New York this week to take her message to the United States, has been a target for abuse but sees that as proof she is having an effect

1/50 2 October 2019

Ex-Thomas Cook employees demonstrate in London on October 2, 2019, after delivering a petition calling for a full inquiry into Thomas Cook’s collapse and for the company’s directors to pay back their bonuses. – British travel firm Thomas Cook collapsed on September 23, leaving hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers stranded and sparking the UK’s biggest repatriation since World War II.

2/50 1 October 2019

A road in Alum Rock, Birmingham is flooded after persistent heavy rain

3/50 30 September 2019

Two tourists pose for pictures in front of Union and EU flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London

4/50 29 September 2019

A sheep on London Bridge as Freemen of the City of London took up their historic entitlement to drive sheep over the bridge, which was once London’s only river crossing

5/50 28 September 2019

An Aldabra giant tortoise is fed watermelon as a treat at the Malvern Autumn Show, at the Three Counties Showground near Malvern in Worcestershire

6/50 27 September 2019

Gallery assistants pose with an artwork entitled ‘Devolved Parliament’ by British artist Banksy, during a press view in London ahead of Sotheby’s contemporary art sale, as part of the Frieze Art Fair

7/50 26 September 2019

England’s Jonathan Joseph is tackled by United State’s Marcel Brache during their group match at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. England scored seven tries on their way to winning 45-7

8/50 25 September 2019

Tributes for former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen at Ibrox Stadium. Today, the funeral procession will pass Ibrox Stadium before making the journey to Wellington Church

9/50 24 September 2019

A person dressed as a caricature of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a prison uniform stands outside the Supreme Court after it ruled that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal

10/50 23 September 2019

Thomas Cook aircraft are parked up at Manchester Airport on the day they collapsed after rescue talks failed. A total of 22,000 jobs – including 9,000 in UK – are to be lost following administration. More than 150,000 British holidaymakers need to be brought home, with the government and CAA hiring dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge

11/50 22 September 2019

Fire performer Penella Bee performs before people take part in the North East Skinny Dip at Druridge Bay in Nothumberland, an annual event that marks the Autumn Equinox and raises money for MIND – the Mental Health Charity

12/50 21 September 2019

Protesters gather for a march and rally organised by “The People’s Vote” in Brighton, to call for politicians to give the public a final say referendum on Brexit

13/50 20 September 2019

Protesters in London joined millions across world to demand urgent action to save planet in the largest environmental protest in history

14/50 19 September 2019

Rapper Dave poses with the Mercury Prize: Albums of the Year Award at Apollo

15/50 18 September 2019

A surfer in action during sunrise at Tynemouth on the north east coast

16/50 17 September 2019

Protesters dressed as the Incredible Hulk and Robocop outside the Supreme Court in London where judges are due to consider legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament. The Supreme Court will hear appeals over three days from two separate challenges to the prorogation of Parliament brought in England and Scotland

17/50 16 September 2019

Farmer Tom Hoggard harvests pumpkins at Howe Bridge Farm in Yorkshire, ahead of Halloween

18/50 15 September 2019

Team Europe celebrate winning the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland. Europe won the last three singles matches to claim victory 14½-13½
Sunset at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay

20/50 13 September 2019

Activists from PETA stage a demonstration outside a venue during London Fashion Week in London, Britain

21/50 12 September 2019

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne attempts to stop a boundary in the fifth Test

22/50 11 September 2019

Storm clouds gather over the pier just off the North East coast at South Shields

23/50 10 September 2019

The peloton rides past the Angel of the North during stage four of the Tour of Britain from Gateshead to Kendal

24/50 9 September 2019

A penny farthing cyclist rides past St. John’s, Smith Square, Westminster, London

25/50 8 September 2019

Australia celebrate the wicket of England’s Craig Overton, which meant they won the fourth test and retained the Ashes

26/50 7 September 2019

Manchester City celebrate after Caroline Weir scored during their Women’s Super League match against Manchester United at Etihad Stadium. The WSL attendance record was smashed with 31,213 people watching the first Manchester derby of Women’s Super League era – nearly six times the previous WSL record

27/50 6 September 2019

A bull bumps into a plain clothes police officer (left) while being walked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Darnford Farm in Banchory near Aberdeen. It coincided with the publication of Lord Bew’s review and an announcement of extra funding for Scottish farmers

28/50 5 September 2019

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cuts the hair of David Torrance MSP raising £1000 for the charity Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

29/50 4 September 2019

Australia’s David Warner looks dejected after being dismissed by England’s Stuart Broad during day one of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester

30/50 3 September 2019

Anti Brexit demonstrators attend a protest at Parliament Square. Lawmakers returned from their summer recess Tuesday for a pivotal day in British politics as they challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence that the UK leave the European Union on 31 October, even without a withdrawal agreement to cushion the economic blow

31/50 2 September 2019

Set building begins on Waterloo Place in Edinburgh ahead of filming for Fast and Furious 9

32/50 1 September 2019

Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club take part during the annual cricket match between the clubs, which takes place on the Bramble Bank sandbank in the middle of the Solent at low tide
Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate at Whitehall in London

34/50 30 August 2019

One of the iconic ‘Girl with Balloon’ artworks by anonymous street artist Banksy is carried near one of the original locations the artwork appeared at on the Southbank in London

35/50 29 August 2019

The sun rises over the sculpture “The Couple” by artist Sean Henry, at Newbiggin-by-the-sea in Northumberland

36/50 28 August 2019

A person wearing a Boris Johnson ‘head’ digs a grave at the foot of a tombstone during a protest organised by Avaaz and Best for Britain, outside Downing Street in London

37/50 27 August 2019

Nat Lofthouse statue is covered in flags at the University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton

38/50 26 August 2019

Performers take part in Notting Hill Carnival. Nearly one million people were expected to attend Sunday and Monday’s carnival to celebrate Caribbean culture

39/50 25 August 2019

A competitor swims in the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwryd Wells, Powys

40/50 24 August 2019

People flock to Bournemouth beach as a heatwave spells potentially record high temperatures for the bank holiday weekend

41/50 23 August 2019

Fans of Bury FC deliver a symbolic coffin to the club’s home at Gigg Lane as the continuation of their membership to the football league lies in doubt. The club will lose their membership at midnight if they don’t find a buyer or prove that they have the means to pay off their debts

42/50 22 August 2019

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow DEFRA Secretary Sue Hayman during a visit to Rakefoot Farm, Castlerigg, Keswick where they are highlighting the danger of a No Deal Brexit to sheep farmers

43/50 21 August 2019

Festival goers walk along the towpath of the River Thames as they arrive for the Reading Festival at Richfield Avenue

44/50 20 August 2019

Police officers gather to pay their respects at the scene near Ufton Lane, where Thames Valley Police officer PC Andrew Harper, 28, died on Thursday. Jed Foster, 20, has appeared at Reading Magristrates’ Court where denied any involvement with the murder

45/50 19 August 2019

A fire that broke out at the site of Village Bakery on Coed Aben Road, Wrexham Industrial Estate in Wales

46/50 18 August 2019

England fielders crowd Pat Cummins as he see’s out the final over during day five of the second Ashes Test match against Australia at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The test ended in a draw

47/50 17 August 2019

Glew (centre) and Monroe Adams (right) pose for a selfie with a member of the public outside DragWorld London 2019, Europe’s largest drag convention, featuring drag stars from the US and UK during a two-day event at Olympia, London

48/50 16 August 2019

A grey seal with fishing net tangled around its neck amongst the colony on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk, as RSPCA data show the number of animals affected by plastic litter is at an all-time high, with incidents increasing by 22% in just four years

49/50 15 August 2019

A flock of sheep are herded past government buildings in London by members of Farmers for a People’s Vote, a campaign group

50/50 14 August 2019

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during a press conference at the Mayflower Marina in Plymouth, southwest England, on August 14, 2019, ahead of her journey across the Atlantic to New York, aboard the Malizia II IMOCA class sailing yacht, where she will attend the UN Climate Action Summit next month. – A year after her school strike made her a figurehead for climate activists, Greta Thunberg believes her uncompromising message about global warming is getting through — even if action remains thin on the ground. The 16-year-old Swede, who sets sail for New York this week to take her message to the United States, has been a target for abuse but sees that as proof she is having an effect

Ms Duffield said: “Abuse isn’t only about those noticeable, visible signs. Sometimes there are no bruises. Abuse is very often all about control, and power.”

But the politician, who was born in London and left school at the age of 16, warned abusive partners do not present themselves that way.

She said: “It’s not how they win your heart, it’s not how they persuade you to meet them for a coffee, then go to a gig, then spend an evening snuggled up in front of a movie at their place.

“When they ask you out they don’t present their rage, and they don’t tell you that they like the idea of strong independent successful women but not the reality.

“They don’t threaten, criticise, control or exert their physical strength in increasingly frightening ways – not yet.

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“Not at the start, not when they think you are sweet, funny and gorgeous. Not when they are trying to impress you. Not when they meet your friend, parents or the leader of your political party.

“They don’t do any of that then, it’s only later when the door to your home is locked. Only then do you really start to learn what power and control looks and feels like.”

Eventually, behind closed doors, “you learn that ‘I’ll always look after you, I’ll never let you go’ and ‘You’re mine for life’ can sound menacing and are used as a warning”.

“It’s when the ring is on your finger that the mask can start to slip,” the former teaching assistant said. “Reward, punishment, promises of happily-ever-after, alternated with abject rage” becomes the pattern.

“Every day is emotionally exhausting, working in a job that you love but putting on a brave face and pretending all is good.”

Rosie Duffield, the newly elected Labour MP for Canterbury (Twitter)

One day, as her partner left for the gym, Ms Duffield hid his door keys and locked him out, she told MPs.

Afterwards, he raged at her and issued threats, but, some six months later after what felt like “withdrawal”, she began to move on.

Breaking down into tears, Ms Duffield said: “If anyone is watching and needs a friend please reach out if it’s safe to do so and please talk to any of us because we will be there and we will hold your hand.” 

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The latest figures show that out of an estimated 2 million victims of domestic abuse in the last year, some 1.3 million were women. The majority (70 per cent) of victims of domestic violence deaths are female.

Every week in the UK, two women are murdered by a partner or ex-partner.

Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline, which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website