With the sun shining I joined Care International and female parliamentarians this week on a short march to Downing Street this week calling on the G7 to make sure that gender equality is not rolled back by the covid-pandemic. It came immediately before Wednesday’s session of the Women and Equalities Committee where we were discussing how Parliament can be made more accessible. I am proud of the fact that I have a number of constituents working on the restoration and renewal project, making sure that any changes work for disabled people, for women, for people of colour. This is not a new debate, I gather Churchill and Astor used to argue about the building when discussing restoration after the war.
Of course Parliament is expected to go back full time on the 21st June, but who knows how that might change when we find out on 14th what the roadmap to recovery looks like. I know the hybrid system of working has benefited those who are vulnerable and shielding, and I am disappointed that we have not concluded that some method of both virtual and physical Parliament is not possible in the longer term. From an equalities perspective it is very obvious that a hybrid parliament is a good plan, and if I am left any discretion on the select committee I will seek to facilitate some level of remote working.
Like every previous time I was not successful in the Private Members Bill Ballot this year but that has not stopped me from working with a number of charities to try to persuade colleagues to take up the “oven ready” Bills which have been prepared. There is a really good one on British Sign Language which would hugely benefit deaf people locally and has been popular with constituents, and also one from Reclaim these Streets about public sexual harassment, which has had a great deal of support from young women who have contacted me. We are waiting to see which ones are eventually chosen and with Friday sittings set to resume the top few have a good chance of becoming law.