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 Paula Sherriff Paula Sherriff Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care), Shadow Minister (Mental Health) 1:14 pm, 6th February 2018

May I take this opportunity to recognise all the women who are currently serving in this place and the other place, and also those who have gone before us? We may not always agree politically, or see eye to eye, but I absolutely recognise the courage that many have shown in order to get here.

I agree with Mrs Trevelyan that it is important for the police and the criminal justice agencies to understand that, when female MPs—or, indeed, male MPs—come forward with stories of abuse, whether it be online or otherwise, they must be taken seriously. We do not necessarily want to be making those police reports. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my own recent experience with the Home Secretary.

Further to the point made by my hon. Friend Toby Perkins, I think it extremely important—I have raised this point with the Prime Minister—that we recognise that abuse comes from all sides of the political spectrum. I acknowledge that it comes from my own party, which makes me incredibly ashamed, and I would never condone it. However, I have been subject to some significant abuse from the right. I think that the more we make this a party-political issue, the more we are prevented from making progress.