Ruth Davidson and the Dinosaurs

Whereas the thought of being on the road fighting two elections in twenty months would once have fired me up; the threat of spending hundreds of hours away from my home and family now fills me with dread.

So said former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson in her resignation letter last week.

Most campaigners, candidates or MPs will know exactly what she meant when she said those words. Politics can be fun, addictive and all-consuming (especially in these extraordinary times) but we nearly all reach a point when home and hearth tug in a way that canvassing a whole street in the rain certainly does not!

Even 14 years later I am haunted by the words of my toddler daughter when I was a busy parliamentary candidate. Playing with her plastic animals she told her babysitter: “This is Baby dinosaur. This is Daddy dinosaur. But Mummy dinosaur is at a meeting”.

Jo Swinson and Ruth Davidson have been inspiring role models for working mothers. They have both been honest that it isn’t easy. Obviously the pressure on them as party leaders is vastly greater than on us bog standard PPCs. But Davidson and Swinson did at least have two things that pregnant parliamentary candidates do not: 

  1. A salary 
  2. Maternity Leave

We are told that a party committee is at long last about to grant Lib Dem PPCs the right to maternity leave. In the past the party has used the weight of current events as an excuse not to grant rights to pregnant candidates. Plans were shelved because of the 2015 election and then the 2017 election. The snap election of 2019 must not be used as another excuse. We must find a way. And those of us who stood in past should offer help to pregnant candidates or candidates with babies so they can do it all – even at election time!

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

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