Bizarrely as David Cameron re-shuffles his cabinet and brings more women into positions of power, no one on the BBC news has yet noted that today is the birthday of Mrs Pankhurst, she of the “Sister Suffragette” song at the beginning of “Mary Poppins”. This omission seems both rather odd and slightly sad but there we are! Andrea Leadsom is not on the list of women being elevated to high rank in the cabinet. She was being discussed a great deal today by someone from the TIMES: apparently, she has a reputation in the Party as “difficult” and a bit of a rebel. I have met her: one of the oddest things she claimed was that she would never put forward or speak in an early day motion because it was a waste of time and there was never any “resolution”. Sometimes, I think, issues nevertheless have to be aired. It can take years before a resolution is reached and I think I resent this cavalier attitude to the ordinary business of the house. That said, I note that she has actually either changed her mind or my recollection of our conversation is wrong because she has signed an EDM for renaming the Parliament tower in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee after she signed an EDM proposed by Graham Evans which bemoaned the continued existence of EDM saying they “rarely have any influence on policy… and questions the value for money to the taxpayer”…Of course, she opposed the same sex marriage bill and made a great fuss in the press about her position- I don’t quite understand this bill as, other than nomenclature, it offers little that the civil partnership had not already established, but it seemed to cause so much more friction. I did a cartoon of Ms Leadsom where she stands among others who found the legislation- in her words “unacceptable” – she also added that her constituents found the idea of gay marriage to be “deeply wrong”. In the end, she lacked the guts to actually vote against the Government and simply ran into hiding during the vote. silly lady.
More interesting is Merton’s Elizabeth truss and St Hugh’s Nicky Morgan. Now Mrs Morgan also opposed the same sex legislation, but she managed to vote! I rather liked her comments in the Leicester Mercury and most specifically her “third reason” for voting against the bill. I think in time, this may be of significance –
“There were also three main reasons of my own that I voted against it.
“First, this is a very big social change. There have been plenty of little changes down the years but what’s never been changed is that the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman.
“I think that was one of the issues people, especially those who asked me to vote against, found hardest to accept and it also tied in with my own Christian faith too.
“I totally support civil partnerships and that same-sex relationships are recognised in law. But marriage, to me, is between a man and a woman.
“The second reason is that people have become a bit cynical about consultations about policy changes at national and local government level .
“And in this case, I felt the question was not whether the change should be made, but how it should be made and I think we forgot that step of asking if it should be made.
“And the third reason was legal aspects of the Bill. For instance, if we have gay marriage, should civil partnerships now also be opened up to heterosexual couples too? Or should we just get rid of civil partnerships altogether?
“Also, if same-sex marriages are to be dissolved, will that be different to heterosexual partnerships ending?
“I know there are a lot of worries for people like teachers and others in public sector roles and these are things I still feel need to be ironed out as the Bill goes through Parliament.
“I appreciate that there will be people in my constituency who will be unhappy with how I voted and I wish many of them had contacted me earlier and given me a clearer picture of what people thought.”