Book signing at Labour Women’s Conference

Labour Party

I’m now back in Brussels following this year’s Labour Conference.

I also attended Women’s Conference on Saturday where there was a great atmosphere. Delegates made powerful statements about the direction of future policy and the debates in breakout sessions were inspirational. In addition, the Conference gave a moving tribute to Harriet Harman who has done so much for women over more than 30 years.

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I had a stand at Women’s Conference where I signed and sold copies of my book, Parliamentary Pioneers. I was also invited to do a book signing at conference on Tuesday at City Books book shop, the official book seller at this year’s Labour conference.

It was another great opportunity to meet many women from a variety of backgrounds, including research fellows, CLP delegates and trade unionists all searching of ways to improve pay, conditions and other rights for women.

My book, Parliamentary Pioneers, is available to buy on Amazon or on my website.

Launching Parliamentary Pioneers: Labour Women MPs 1918-1945

Labour Party

I have some exciting news to share with you. I can exclusively reveal that my debut book, Parliamentary Pioneers: Labour Women MPs 1918-1945, will be published in March by Urbane.

I’m extremely proud of this project, not least because it’s been a true labour of love from when I embarked on this journey, some 20 years ago. I have spent time intermittently researching, interviewing and writing chapters in my spare time.

Parliamentary Pioneers charts the rise of the first Labour women MPs the first of whom were elected in 1923.

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It’s an important story and one that I have been seeking to tell for so long. It shows how the foundations for Labour women began and chronicles a period of history, following on from the well documented suffragette movement. Had it not been for the suffragettes and their perilous and unforgiving fight we may never have seen the emergence of the likes of Margaret Bondfield, and Susan Lawrence and Ellen Wilkinson among others.

It has been a privilege to write about these doughty women who, because of the constraints placed upon them during this period of history, faced many limitations. In spite of this, or maybe because of it they were fearless, tough and unperturbed while fighting for social justice, workers’ rights, welfare and better educational opportunities not to mention women’s rights.

I hope you enjoy reading about this little told period of history and of these inspirational women as much as I have enjoyed writing about them.

My thanks to everyone who has helped to develop this book, especially publisher Matthew Smith from Urbane.

Also thanks to both Harriet Harman MP and Stella Creasy MP for their support and valuable contribution. I interviewed Harriet and Stella for the final chapter of the book and each shared their unique insight into life as a modern day Labour woman MP.

You can order Parliamentary Pioneers here.

Camberwell and Peckham Labour Party Fundraiser

Labour Party

10634_161347306850_654186850_3343816_7116414_n[1]I had a great time last night at Camberwell and Peckham Constituency Labour Party’s Fundraiser. Neil Kinnock was the guest speaker and he was his usual passionate humourous self. It also gave me a chance to catch up with Harriet Harman MP on current equality issues, and GLA member for Southwark and Lambeth Val Shawcross on life at City Hall.  I am grateful to Camberwell Councillor and blogger  John Friary for the photograph with Southwark Councillor Sandra Rhule. Camberwell and Peckham is a “safe” seat, yet the members work it like a marginal. I am confident their endeavours together with other members in Southwark will see Southwark Council return to Labour control next year.

The Caravaggio restaurant in Camberwell Church Street was excellent, I recommend it.


Labour Party

The European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP), the Labour MEPs, held our AGM today. Unsurprsingly it was a subdued affair, with all of us feeling the loss of respected colleagues. All credit to Richard Corbett, Glyn Ford and Neena Gill who all came to the AGM, as they are entitled to do. I know I speak for all the EPLP when I wish them the very best and hope they are given useful and gainful employment.

We did, of course, have one newcomer, Derek Vaughan from Wales. Welcome to Derek – hope you enjoy your time in the European Parliament.

The EPLP Officers are:

Leader Glenis Willmott

Deputy Leader Claude Moraes

Chair Richard Howitt

Whip Brian Simpson

Good luck to all of them. We have not as yet made any decisions about Committee membership or posts in the European Parliament. This will happen when we go back to Brussels towards the end of June.

The meeting was addressed by the new Minister for Europe, Baroness Glenys Kinnock, a former colleague, and the first Europe Minister for a very long time who understands Europe and is qualified to do the Ministerial job.

Harriet Harman followed Glenys and received universal acclamation for her role in the European election campaign and the way she handled the sorry saga of MPs expenses in the media.

We, as Labour MEPs, now have to do the very best job we can in Europe and work hard to take the European message out to the country at large. This is where we start out fight to bring home the relevance and the benefits of Europe to the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. There is no doubt that the European cause has been put back some long way by the results announced on Sunday. But this is no time to give up, and I know all my EPLP colleagues will do their level best for Britain and for the Europe.