Murnaghan: Female MPs, Miliband and Castro


Rachel Reeves gave a glimpse of what it was like to be a woman in Westminster on today’s Murnaghan show – and it seems female MPs still have a few battles left to fight.

In an interview about her book on Alice Bacon, the first female MP for Leeds, Reeves said that although “things have definitely improved” since then, “we’re still very much a minority and there are still glass ceiling to smash”.

She added: “Before the last general election a Conservative MP suggested that if Labour were to win the election I shouldn’t go into the Cabinet – even though I had been shadow secretary of state for a number of years – because I was just about to have a baby, and he said my little brain wouldn’t be able to cope with such a big job and having a family.

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“No one said that Gordon Brown or Tony Blair or David Cameron – all of whom had children while being Prime Minister – couldn’t combine those two things.”

Ms Reeves had her first taste of being a woman in Westminster when she was elected and went to collect a spouse pass for her partner.

“How exciting”, beamed the official, before adding: “Has your husband just been elected as an MP?”

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green

‘Are you just nicking Ed Miliband’s policies?’

Damian Green – a university friend of Theresa May and the Work and Pensions Secretary – was also on today’s show.

I was most struck by his reaction when I asked if the Government was nicking Ed Miliband’s policies with a crackdown on executive pay. “There are slight differences” he reasoned.

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Meanwhile, shadow chancellor John McDonnell had some rather direct words about the legacy of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, stomping straight through the minefield that other politicians are agonisingly hopping around.

He said: “It was a beacon of hope for many people – yes, of course there were flaws and you cannot but criticise those – but again, in the face of the blockades and the opposition from the US the achievements of the Cuban Revolution have to be admired particularly in regard to education, health and redistribution of wealth.”

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