Tag Archives: jenny willott

The spouses of Parliament. By that, the Telegraph means husbands of female MPs

The Telegraph reports on a Grazia magazine feature about “husbands of politicians.” It’s interesting because it captures some of the preconceived ideas we have about gender roles and stereotypes. And also because it features two people well known to us, Duncan Hames and Andrew Poole, Jenny Willott’s husband. It encapsulates the sacrifices that both Members of Parliament and their families have to make.

Duncan said that people are more likely to talk to Jo about their baby son:

After Andrew was born, the only thing anyone in Jo’s constituency wanted to talk to her about was the baby – and for me it was just nice if anyone did! When I first went door-knocking with him, typically, if a woman answered you’d have a conversation about parenthood there were a few men who kept their gaze firmly at eye level, just did their best to have this conversation as if the baby wasn’t there,” he recalls.

Duncan hopes that by trying to parent equally, they’ve paved the way for other couples.

“There are probably a lot of workplaces where, if dads take time out for things like children’s doctors’ appointments, there’ll be the underlying assumption: ‘Isn’t that what a mother does?’ It’s one of the barriers to equality. So those of us who don’t fear the consequences of doing this are, I hope, helping others by doing so.”

Andrew Poole describes how he and Jenny manage their time:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

Swinson and Willott hail start of shared parental leave – but this isn’t the end of the work to be done on this issue

I’ve always said that shared parental leave is one of those policies that ticks all the stronger economy, fairer society and opportunity for everyone b boxes. It’s an entirely liberal thing to give people the choice as to what is right for them and their family rather than have the state dictate it for you.

Today is the day that this policy, first passed at Liberal Democrat conference in 2009, becomes a reality. Jo Swinson, the Minister who took the legislation through Parliament, had this to say:

This is a momentous step forward for families and for parents in work. Shared parental leave can make an incredibly positive difference in a child’s life and help both mums and dads make the best decisions for them and their families.

Men and women will no longer be tied to what history dictates their traditional roles should be with mum holding the baby while dad goes out to work.  Parenting is a shared endeavour and now dads have the opportunity to spend more time with their new baby in those vital early weeks.

Shared parental leave is my proudest achievement in government, and I’m delighted that it is now a reality.

The Liberal Democrats are the driving force behind this change, and we’re pushing to go further in the next parliament. We want to champion the role of dads, and triple paternity leave, giving all fathers an extra month to spend with their child.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Jenny Willott on the Twitter abuse she got after Inside the Commons

A couple of weeks ago, Ruth Bright wrote of her admiration for Jenny Willott after seeing her and her family on the Inside the Commons series. I can only echo her sentiments after finally catching up with the programme late last night. What I saw was a happy family eating together, making a difficult work/life balance situation work in a way that suited them. Of course, I did wonder why Parliament couldn’t schedule its votes in a more family friendly manner and, why, in the 21st century, casting a vote requires running across your workplace then standing in a lobby for quarter of an hour, but that’s hardly Jenny’s fault.

I was appalled to see, from her speech to Welsh Liberal Democrat conference, that she’d taken some Twitter abuse after the programme was shown, as WalesOnline reports. 

The Liberal Democrat MP jokingly described herself to party activists as “the one with the child who screamed the place down when I left him in the whips office and went to vote”.

She said: “I’m also the one who got completely vilified on social media for daring to be a woman who wants to both work and have children. It’s absolutely amazing how many people thought it was okay to tell me my children would turn into delinquents, that I wasn’t up to the task of being an MP if I was also thinking about my children, that my children should be taken into social services care… that I was letting down my children and my constituents etc.”

She continued: “It’s extraordinary to think that even in 2015 there are plenty of people out there who think that women can’t be both MPs and have children successfully – I don’t hear any of them suggesting that men can’t be both MPs and have children.”

Ms Willott said her experiences made her “even more determined to show them how wrong they are,” adding: “It also proves to me that we need to get more women elected overall to change attitudes.”

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 54 Comments

Baroness Jenny Randerson writes…Optimism and determination of Welsh campaign teams is impressive

When I am travelling around Wales I take every opportunity as to go out campaigning with our Welsh MPs. Last week I was out knocking doors with Mark Williams and his team in Lampeter. I am a seasoned Ceredigion campaigner- I don’t think I have missed an election there in the last 15 years. So I know what to expect, and the atmosphere hasn’t changed. Mark is known by almost everyone and regarded with huge respect for his constant hard work in a constituency where local issues are particularly important.

In Brecon and Radnor the “Williams Team” are equally well known and Roger is particularly well established in the farming community. Campaigning in such a sparsely populated area is never easy and elections in B and R are not for the faint hearted. But once again we have the benefit of a well-liked and respected candidate and a strong local party able to support him.

Cardiff Central is about as big a contrast as you can imagine: it is geographically the smallest Welsh constituency but, as an inner city seat it has a big turnover of population. I live in the area so it is no surprise that I campaign there regularly. As a Labour facing seat it will obviously be very closely fought and Jenny Willott’s Labour opponent is particularly well funded as she is a Trade Union lawyer. Jenny and our team are working as hard as it is possible to do and, once again, her name is well known and her reputation for hard work is frequently mentioned. Labour infighting on the Council and their plans to close libraries and reduce bin collections have persuaded a lot of local people that they cannot be trusted. The core Lib Dem team in Central are experienced, tough campaigners, but there are also a lot of new members, many of them young, for whom this is their first general election as activists.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: In praise of Jenny Willott

Jenny Willott, Ruth and Orla Bright, 2004The Liberal Democrats of course have a dismal record electing women, particularly women with young children. We have, therefore, to be truly thankful to Jenny Willott (and her family) for salvaging our reputation in a single television programme. Last night on Michael Cockerell’s “Inside the Commons” we saw her juggling work and motherhood in a way that has rarely been portrayed so honestly. Seeing her collect her son from the House of Commons nursery (and then having to leave him on the lap of a colleague while rushing to an unexpected vote) might have made parliament seem remote. In fact many parents would have watched that scene and been reminded of their own work/family balancing act.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Cadan ap Tomos selected to fight Cardiff West in the General Election

Cadan ap ThomasWelsh Liberal Democrat Cadan ap Tomos has been selected to fight the seat of Cardiff West at the General Election.

Wales Online has the details:

Fluent Welsh speaker Cadan grew up in Ceredigion and now works in the National Assembly for the party.

The University of York graduate said: “I’m delighted to have been selected to fight Cardiff West for the Welsh Lib Dems. Labour has been taking our communities for granted for far too long, and I look forward to running a strong campaign in the run up to next May.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams congratulated Cadan on his selection.

She said: “He is a terrific candidate with a breadth of experience who I know will work tirelessly for the people of Cardiff.”

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

Willott and Hunter stand down as Assistant Government Whips, Burt and Brake take over

Jenny Willott has stepped down as Assistant Government Whip to free herself up to concentrate on her constituency and to be able to speak in the House of Commons. Here are the letters exchanged between Jenny and Nick Clegg in full:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 29 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarHywel 25th Aug - 1:15am
    Are you saying the UK needs a nuclear deterrent to target China? How do you maintain a submarine on a station where it can target...
  • User AvatarRoland 25th Aug - 1:09am
    Richard Underhill - many apologies for my unintentional mistake.
  • User AvatarLyn Newman 25th Aug - 12:35am
    Overall, I think this is a realistic document that balances the competing requirements well. Just a few questions that I think would, or should, be...
  • User AvatarLeave The EU 25th Aug - 12:16am
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRjl4biSmZ4 - For any pro-Brexiters, I liked the "theater" of BJ from 0-31 seconds in - it felt like "a moment in history". :-)
  • User AvatarLeave The EU 25th Aug - 12:10am
    "'Brexit' supporter Amb. John Bolton goes 'On the Record' on 'Brexit's' impact US security and foreign relations and he believes it will strengthen NATO" -...
  • User AvatarBarry Snelson 24th Aug - 11:55pm
    Andrew, It is refreshing to hear Stimson, Lyn's and Stevans voices. We shouldn't view Tory voters as though they are afflicted with some disease which...