Women’S Suffrage Centenary

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:14 pm on 6th February 2018.

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Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women and Equalities 1:14 pm, 6th February 2018

May I start by thanking you, Mr Speaker, for the work that has been done throughout Parliament on the Vote 100 celebrations?

I know that this is something that involves everybody, and I must say I am slightly disappointed at the tone of the hon. Lady’s approach. I think it is great to see so many women active in Parliament, and I wish she could perhaps be a little bit more celebratory about that today. In fact, this Government are committed to making sure that we deliver for women, such as the highest level of employment for women and the tax cuts to the personal allowance, which have been so helpful to women.

Instead of making a great list, I just want to challenge the hon. Lady on one element of my statement that she did not engage with, but which I think was the most important element: what are we going to do about stopping the hate towards women? If we want more women to enter politics—we want more women councillors, more women MPs—we must take action to stop the level of hate coming at women. A lot of it comes from Momentum. We have seen that—[Interruption.] I am not saying that it only comes to Conservatives. I say to the hon. Lady that I know it comes to Labour MPs as much as it does to Conservative MPs. Momentum is not selective in who it abuses.

It is incredibly important that we all call this out. If we listened to Claire Kober’s comments over the weekend, she was explicit about where the abuse had come from, and about the sexism that had come to her. It is incredibly important that we work together on this to make sure that it does not happen. Today, let us look ahead to this year of celebrations and to all the work we can do to encourage more women to come forward and not be put off by the level of hate directed to them.