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.

Jenny – the lows can be terrible. I know, I missed both my daughter’s first words and her first steps because I was out campaigning as a parliamentary candidate. It was a very high price to pay. But think of how you are inspiring other women by showing it can be done.

Thank you

* Ruth Bright has been a councillor in Southwark and Parliamentary Candidate for Hampshire East

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10 Comments

  • Good article, I thought Jenny came across very well last night, and far better than many others who’ve been featured (although respect to Sarah Champion where it’s due.)

    I can only hope the electorate of Cardiff recognise how hard Jenny has worked and the sacrifices she’s made to represent them as ably as she has.

  • Sadie Smith 18th Feb '15 - 1:25pm

    I watched and so enjoyed seeing a sane, sensible woman juggling a complicated job in an odd workplace with down to earth ability. And with polite comment on some of the bizarre goings on in Westminster. Lots of cheers for Jenny.
    And it did strike me that her children are going to grow up with fascinating memories.

  • Bill le Breton 18th Feb '15 - 3:18pm

    Jenny was indeed a beacon of hope and light in such a dismal, dysfunctional, disfiguring dungeon.

    It is appalling that a parent and children should have to work in such a fashion.

  • Ruth Bright 18th Feb '15 - 7:02pm

    I do agree Bill. It was as if some normal people had broken into a weird political Hogwarts.

  • I think some posters are being overly harsh on some of the other featured members. I think Sarah Champion and Robert Hefton came across ok. The some of the Tory back benchers and the Labour front bench didn’t make a good impression though.

    I did think JW came over the best so far but we have one episode to go.

  • GwynWilliams 19th Feb '15 - 12:10pm

    Definitely Jenny has come over extremely well. Just showing a mother with her young children at work in the H ofC does far more for the Lib Dems than hours of grey suit coverage visiting schools with other people’s children. Can Jenny be included in a PPB in the same role?

  • Jenny is an excellent MP who deserves every bit of support people can give her. Cardiff, Wales and the Lib Dems need more people like her in Westminster.

  • … but why do we begin a positive story with the appalling “The Liberal Democrats of course have a dismal record electing women …” Sadly the Lib Dems don’t elect women, the voters do that. The Lib Dems select candidates and I believe we are now ahead of the other parties in doing this in held seats where the incumbent is standing down. We must stop doing ourselves down. Does the author really believe that having selected women we somehow deliberately sell them short in the election campaign?

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