I was thrilled to speak on Emma Louise-Boynton’s podcast She Stands this week. Emma is talking to female MPs in order to inspire young women to stand for election and thus achieve a more equal sex split in Parliament. There are 220 women MPs in the House of Commons at the moment – an all-time high, but this is still only 34% of all MPs. Only 28% of the House of Lords are female and only 23% of the Cabinet – less than a quarter! Labour are leading the way, having fielded 51% women in the last General Election and with 52% of our sitting MPs female. This is fantastic but we want to see this representation echoed across the House, across the parties, and across Westminster. If we are to represent the nation, we need to look like the nation. It was great to talk to Emma about why I got into politics – after all many have pointed out that I do not look like your stereotypical politician! – and what needs to happen to make Parliament a more inclusive, more diverse place. I have to say, tackling the abuse that female MPs face is a really important part of this, and it’s something I’ll continue to campaign on in order to ensure more young women feel confident and inspired to enter politics.
Following the discrepancy in the numbers of fans allowed at Wembley for the Swansea City v Brentford Championship play off final (10,000) in comparison to those allowed at the recent FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool City (21,000), I joined local MPs for both clubs in writing to Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden this week. Whilst we fully appreciate that restrictions are still necessary and that safety must remain the number one priority, it seems incredibly unfair that the game between two Premier League teams was included in the Events Research Programme pilot but the game between two Championship teams was not. We have asked the Secretary of State why lower league teams and their supporters have not been given the same consideration as their Premier League counterparts.
It was a pleasure to be re-elected co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Beauty, Aesthetics, and Wellbeing this week, alongside my friend and colleague Judith Cummins MP. This group is so important for supporting such a vital element of our local and national economies and for raising awareness of just how critical this industry is. This industry does not deserve the mockery and snickering that it has met with from some MPs including the Prime Minister: it employs huge numbers of women and contributes more to the national economy than our pubs. I will continue to speak out for the industry and to stand up for the thousands of workers who rely on this work, and all their customers who appreciate the support for their wellbeing that the sector offers. We all need a little care sometimes and a small thing like a haircut, a manicure, or a massage can be all we need to feel that little bit brighter.
This week the Peers for Gambling Reform launched their review: Economic Assessment of Selected House of Lords Gambling Reforms. Their economic assessment supports the changes that I and other campaigners have been calling for and shows that effective reform could save the Government hundreds of millions of pounds of healthcare spend – a huge amount of money. It is so important that we implement these reforms. We must ensure that gambling operators undertake affordability checks and that there are structural limits on online stake sizes and play speeds. This will not stop anyone from placing a bet that they can afford; however, it will make a huge difference for those struggling with an addiction. You can find the full report here.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. As always, if you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com – my team and I are here to help. And remember – stay home, observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!