Category Archives: Women MPs

CAMERON AND THE ABORTION TIME LIMIT

We are all waking up to David Cameron’s anti-woman agenda. Although he hides it well with plausibly warm words, the modern Tory Party is no more in favour of equal opportunities than its previous incarnations. Take the abortion time limit. Cameron has decided to vote to lower the legal limit for abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks when the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill comes before the Commons in a few weeks.

According to the sycophantic “Daily Mail” the reason he has stuck his neck out on such a contentious issue is the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries. You will remember that the delightful Ms Dorries is the woman who took “Emily’s List”, the organisation which provides funds for Labour women to get selected for parliament, to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner. The grounds – Emily’s List requires those it helps to state that they are in favour of a woman’s right to choose. The delectable Dorries claimed this was bribery to vote a certain way. Needless to say, the Standards Commissioner saw Dorries’s complaint for what it was and rejected it.

Her latest nonsense is to attack the Government’s relaxed approach to sex education. Yes, you’ve guessed it – sex education encourages young people to have sex. Dorries has either not seen or willfully ignored evidence from the Netherlands and elsewhere that sex education reduces teenage pregnancies. Surely even she would think this is what we should be aiming for. Just in case you haven’t clocked it, Nadine Dorries is a right-wing Christian evangelist. “I try to live like a Christian. I try not to lie, to help others.” She told the Daily Mail. She is also on record as saying that she sees evil in late abortion. She would do better to be less focused on evil and more humanitarian in her approach.

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Filed under Conservative, Emily's List, Nadine Dorries, Women MPs

THE TORIES AND WOMEN

The Tories are still making noises about getting more Tory women into Westminster and having more women on their front bench. Mr Cameron wants two of the final four candidates in each Westminster selection to be female. He has also said he will increase the number of women on his priority list from 50% to 60%.

Hazel Blears is on record as saying that the changes will fail to change the Tories and that the Conservative Party is still failing women. You only need to look at the Tories in the European Parliament to see the real proof of just how true that is. There is only one woman Conservative MEP and she is standing down at the European elections next year. In the 2004 Euro elections there were two regional lists which did not include any women at all.

The Tories will complete their selections for the next European elections very soon. It will be interesting to see whether David Cameron’s fine words have any substance.

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Filed under Conservative, Hazel Blears, Women MPs

LABOUR SPRING CONFERENCE

5th March 2008

Spring Conference was a good event this year for Europe. The Party agreed that European legislation and policy would be an integral party of each session and that MEPs would attend the policy seminars on the top table with Ministers. As you can imagine, this was very well received by all the MEPs. Our legislative work has a real impact on everyone’s life in the UK. Maybe European Directives and the processes by which they are debated and agreed is at last getting the right level of recognition.

I was fortunate to speak in three sessions: the closing Women’s Plenary on trafficking of human beings with Harriet Harman MP, Barbara Keeley MP and Marianne Mikko, one of my MEP colleagues from Estonia. I also addressed the Education Policy Seminar in my capacity as Spokesperson on Culture and Education, and a workshop on women and the web, discussing uses for new technology.

The EPLP organised a session for the European candidates on the Sunday morning. This was a good event, and it was cheering to see a number of candidates there. No doubt we shall see much more of each other during the next year or so.

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Filed under Harriet Harman, Labour Spring Conference, Women MPs