WATCH: Wera Hobhouse’s maiden speech

Wera Hobhouse made her maiden speech yesterday. The text is below:

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make my maiden speech as the new Member for Bath.

Let me first of all pay tribute to my predecessor, Ben Howlett. He served his constituency with great diligence and I thank him for the contribution he made to our wonderful city. In particular, Ben Howlett understood the progressive and liberal spirit—with a small l—that makes up the fabric of Bath, and he campaigned with conviction to remain in the EU and on voting reform. As a keen supporter of electoral reform, I want to continue his work and I hope we can make some progress during this Parliament.

Of course, many Bath citizens remember Don Foster, the MP for Bath from 1992 to 2015, with special fondness. For 23 years he was Bath’s No. 1 supporter, representing the city with infectious energy, and bringing people and communities together.

Today, 29 June, would have been my mother’s 97th birthday. She was born in Hamburg into a half-Jewish family and experienced directly the persecution under the Nazi terror. I was lucky enough to be born into a different Germany—one heavily scarred and with an immense feeling of guilt, but determined never again to go down into the abyss of fanaticism, racial intolerance and exaggerated national pride. It is testimony to the open-mindedness of the people of Bath that they have elected as their new MP a woman who was not British-born. I feel deeply humbled and very honoured.​
Whenever I mention that I live in Bath, the immediate response is, “Bath—what a beautiful place.” Yes, Bath is a beautiful place, but like many other cities it is suffering from a housing crisis and overstretched public services. In 2016, average house prices in Bath rose by more than £100 a day, making it almost impossible for people on an average income to rent a decent family home, let alone buy their own home. Making sure that we share prosperity among all people in Bath will be my particular focus.

Under current Government proposals, two out of three schools in Bath will have to lay off staff in September. As a former secondary school teacher, I know all too well how challenging it is to teach and learn effectively in very large classes. I will stand up for all young people in Bath to make sure that they receive the education they deserve.

Whether we like it or not, this Parliament will be absorbed by Brexit. Last year nearly 70% of my constituents voted to remain in the EU, and I am here to make sure that their voices are heard on Brexit. The Brexit debates have only just started, and I look forward to taking a full part in those debates, and indeed in all the business of the House.

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7 Comments

  • What- no mention of Rochdale?

  • Tony Dawson 30th Jun '17 - 5:25pm

    The printed version of this speech does not do it justice. Wera delivered it with clarity and passion. Just goes to show what a superb candidate backed by a superb team can do. Wera was selected on a gender-free basis less than six weeks before the election. She had previously had nothing at all to do with Bath and was born in Germany to boot. She ois a candidate who not only talks the talk, she walks the walk

  • David Evans 30th Jun '17 - 6:39pm

    An excellent speech by a full blooded Liberal Democrat. Well done.

  • Strong and balanced – heh new strapline 🙂

  • Yeovil Yokel 30th Jun '17 - 11:36pm

    I wish that we had someone of her calibre as our MP.

  • Sue Sutherland 1st Jul '17 - 11:50am

    Great speech Wera and many congratulations on being Bath’s first female MP.

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