Eleanor Laing MP for Epping Forest – Constitutional Reform

Women’s Parliamentary Radio

For immediate release
October 18th 2010
http://www.wpradio.co.uk hears why Eleanor Laing MP thinks the £100 million cost of Constitutional Reform is a price not worth paying!
Eleanor Laing MP for Epping Forest – Constitutional Reform

Eleanor Laing the MP for Epping Forest is Chairman of the Conservative Home Affairs and Constitutional Affairs Committee. She also sits on the Select Committee on Constitutional Affairs and is examining the new “Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill” currently going through Parliament.

Eleanor is against voting reform and the suggested system of AV, thinks the 5th May date for the referendum is flawed, and believes a wholly elected House of Lords would be a mistake. However, she does agree with larger constituencies and reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600.
In this special interview Boni Sones, our Executive Producer, begun by asking her why she opposed voting reform at this point in time? She told Boni:

• “The coalition agreement provides for voting reform but changing the voting system at this time will cost £100 million at a time when the Country is in serious economic crisis. I personally think it is quite wrong to spend £100 million of tax payers money on this when it could go to schools, hospitals, nurses and other worthwhile causes. “

• “We should wait until we are in better economic circumstances but we have to have the referendum because it is part of the coalition agreement. I do accept that it is a price worth paying in order to have the stability of the coalition, which then allows the government to tackle the economic crisis.”

• “To hold the referendum on the same day as local elections in England and the same day as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have national elections is likely to distort the result. It should be held on a day when there are not other important elections. The different turn-outs with other elections are likely to distort the results, I don’t know what that distortion will be but it will be distorted.”

• “I do agree with changing the boundaries and having larger constituencies. I don’t think anybody can argue against equalisation of constituencies. We are all having to work harder and MPs should do the same.”

• “Personally I don’t think we should have a wholly elected House of Lords. The House of Lords is a revising Chamber and there are people there who bring decades of experience and wisdom. There are some very distinguished people who give Parliament and the Country the benefit of their experiences and I think the House of Lords is the better for having these people there. It would be a pity to lose them.”

wpradio goes to the Conservative Fringe!

Women’s Parliamentary Radio

For immediate release
October 8th 2010

Juliet Lyon CBE Women in the Prison System

Juliet Lyon CBE, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, spoke at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference on “Should there be fewer people in prison”? She believes that the numbers of women in prisons could be cut in half, without risking public safety.

Juliet says the new Women’s Centres, set up by the last Labour government after the Corston review of prisons, should be kept as “one of the most attractive and cheap solutions” compared to the cost of putting a women in prison, upwards of £45,000 a year.

She told our Executive Producer Boni Sones: “Our population of women in prisons has just mushroomed to 4,500 and over a year over 12,000 women are going into the prison system some with a stay of only six days, and that is enough to cause chaos in a women’s life. Given most of these women have a high level of mental health need, many of them are addicted or trafficked, we think there could be a much more intelligent response to their problems.

“There are now a network of Women’s Centres across the country, following the Corston review, enabling women to take responsibility for their own lives and that of their children. It seems to us that this is a solution hanging by a thread because the Centres are on time limited funding, due to run out in March next year. There are already results emerging, but because the government is now looking at payment by results, there is an interim need to make sure these Women’s Centres don’t disappear because they are working well. “

Nicola Blackwood MP Women on the frontline

The Conservative Women’s Organisation teamed up with ActionAid UK to look at the issue of “On the Frontline: Women, Peace and Conflict”. They are calling for the Conservative government to appoint an International Violence against Women Minister.

Our reporter Linda Fairbrother first spoke to panelist Nicola Blackwood MP, Chair of the All- Party Parliamentary Group on Women and Conflict, then Bobby Middleton of the European Union Women’s Organisation, Matilda Parker, from Liberia, and Dorcas Erskin, of ActionAid. Finally she caught up with Pauline Lucas, Chairman of Conservative Women’s Organisation.

Nicola told Linda: “This is a crisis situation and we need to find ways to deal with it better. It is not in the British interest to have greater insecurity abroad, and human rights abuses such as sexual violence perpetuate insecurity. If we want to achieve security in Afghanistan and North Africa, then we need to address the issue of violence against women. We need to prioritise women and gender and conflict so that we can meet our moral responsibility and the national security implications.”

Damian Green MP women and the Burka

The Immigration Minister, Damian Green MP, told a “Big Brother Watch” fringe that the government would not be banning the Burka. He said he thought such a ban would be “Un-B

He told our reporter Linda Fairbrother why, as he walked to his next talk. “I think we shouldn’t have a ban on what people wear in this Country, I think it is Un-British, we want minimal interference in people’s lives and if people want to wear something they should be given the freedom to do so. Bans are wrong and over-intrusive.”


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