My work on issues of equality and representation
Women’s equality has long been an issue close to my heart. I have campaigned on many issues over the years to encourage a fairer representation of women in Parliament. There can be no doubt that
I was delighted to have signed Early day motion 1023, which called on the government to recognise the importance of Eleanor Rathbone in the fight for female equality by renaming a committee room in the Palace of Westminster in her honour.
Eleanor Rathbone played a fundamental role in the integration of women into the political life of this country in equal status. She also played a key role in the development of family allowances and in the campaign to protect women in the British Empire. And as well as campaigning for women’s rights, she fought for the defence of democratic political ideals in the face of Nazism and fascism, having begun to campaign against Hitler in 1933, within months of his succession to power.
It is essential that such brave and important individuals, who have done so much for our country, are remembered.
Women in Parliament
I sponsored Early day motion 866, which called on the Government to commence Section 106 of the Equality Act 2010, which would require political parties to monitor the diversity of their election candidates, as was unanimously recommended by the Women and Equalities Select Committee in their report Women in the House of Commons after the 2020 election, published in 2017. Since Section 106 does not cover local government elections, Early day motion 866 also called on the Government to amend Section 106 to include them within its scope.
It is vital that the House of Commons reflects the diversity of the people it seeks to represent. Although progress has been made, more still needs to be done to increase the representation of women and minority groups. By enabling parliament and the public to scrutinise the record of political parties when selecting candidates, publishing data on election candidate diversity would help achieve this.
I am proud to have been one of the early supporters in Parliament of the implementation of equal marriage. I understand some people felt this was a controversial decision but my father summed up the case for supporting the legislation beautifully. Please watch his speech here: