The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
This is a man's world
Posted Wednesday, 4 March 2009 at 15:50

The most telling paragraph in the Commissioner's report regarding the Spelman inquiry was paragraph 27. It reads:

In accordance with good employment practice, parliamentary staff—both those employed by the House and those employed by Members—have access to a child care voucher scheme and to advice on where they may obtain child care, whether in Westminster or elsewhere. Members of Parliament have no such access and must make their own arrangements. We consider this to be inequitable, and disproportionately so for women Members, who are more likely to have primary responsibility for child care. We understand that the House of Commons Administration Committee is presently considering the question of Members' child care requirements. We look forward to that Committee's conclusions.”

What the paragraph doesn't mention is that many of the government departments have workplace nurseries for departmental employees; but members are not allowed to use them.

Caroline has come out of this debacle intact, but personally wounded. In the private sector, a tribunal must be heard within six months with regard to the level of stress it imposes upon the employee. Caroline's took nine, and it shows. She looks ill and exhausted. In the real world an inquiry can only go back for seven years: Caroline's went back twelve.

Jacqui Smith, and no, I'm not a member of her fan club, will go through an equally torrid time. Why? Because as a mother she's tried to maintain a stable and constant home life for her children, in the place her local party probably insist they are educated; whilst she works 100hrs per week in London.

As the increasingly likely party of Government, the Conservative party will witness an explosion in the number of young female MPs coming into Parliament. There will be no escape from the working week of Monday through until late Thursday night, and then off to the constituency for the 'day job'.

Many local parties now insist MPs live and educate their children in the constituency. How are women supposed to hold family and home together?

Following the Blair Babe explosion in ' 97, almost all Labour women MPs live in London and have their families and children with them. However, times have changed. Local parties demand more in the way of local visibility; and whereas for someone like myself who can troll back to Bedfordshire, even though it's midnight before I arrive and I'm gone somedays by six, if my constituency was in Birmingham, I couldn't.

It's time that honest MPs, and that is the very vast majority, started to stand up for themselves and stop being so spineless in the face of the media.

It's not the one or two rotten MPs who have given politicians a bad name, it's the other 650 plus who cower away like little boys scared of matron, refusing to stand up to the media bullies. Allowing anyone to print or say anything without challenge.

And who will be the casualties of the future? The women, because as MPs cower away, no one will dare suggest that maybe something should be done to both acknowledge, facilitate and support the army of young mums about to enter this place.

I hope the Administration Committee produces some worthwhile recommendations; however it can only do so if it accepts that a woman's role as a mother is unique, and all mother's in emplyment need all the support they can get.

If they don't we will see a lot more casualties; however, it would be nice if for once, just once, a journalist tried to see the problem from the other side of the coin. To see how the options are limited and exhausting, for a female MP who tries to be a half decent mother, as you slowly realise you can't please all of the people all of the time. Least of all yourself.

Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at:
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

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