wwwpradio.co.uk talks to Hazel Blears MP and Theresa May MP

Women’s Parliamentary Radio

June 20th 2011

http://www.wpradio.co.uk asks Nigel Nelson to talk to Hazel Blears MP on “Prevent” and The Rt Hon Theresa May MP celebrates 5 years of Women2Win

Face to Face Encounters: Hazel Blears MP talks to the Political Editor of the People Nigel Nelson

Hazel Blears, the Labour MP for Salford since 1997, who served as the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Minister of State for Policing and Counter Terrorism has a lot to say on the new Coalition government’s “Prevent” strategy to combat terrorism. It was launched in 2007, when Hazel was a Minister, to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Almost £80 million was spent on 1,000 Prevent schemes, in the battle against al-Qaeda. But it was dogged with controversy and allegations money went to the wrong groups. So what does Hazel think of the new Coalition government’s “re-focused” Prevent strategy? Nigel Nelson the Political Editor of the People asked her in this special wpradio.co.uk “Face to Face Encounters” interview.

Read Nigel’s blog: http://www.blogs.people.co.uk/nigel-nelson

• Hazel told Nigel: “The spin that has been put on this deliberately is fundamentally wrong. I was meticulous in having audit and making sure money went to people who shared our values. I took some strong stands on this and I was disappointed in the way it was presented by the government.

• “The groups I wanted to encourage were moderate mainstream Muslims. To say this perverted fundamentalist views of Islam is wrong, that is where I focused the resource. “

• “I don’t think the whole things was a success, it was completely new territory, but we were miles ahead of anything in Europe, people weren’t tackling these issues, and when you start a new programme some things will work and some won’t, but right across the World people said ‘you have done some excellent work’. There are always things you can improve and I wish the Home Secretary, in the refresh of Prevent, would acknowledge there has been progress.”

• “I think we now need to look at some of the causes of extremism, not just Islamic but far right extremism too. What drives people down these paths and what are the trigger points in people’s lives? What is it that actually triggers this particular action amongst young people?

• “I set up the Muslim Women’s Advisory Group and I set up the Young Muslim Advisory Group as well which have been abolished by this government, and I am very disappointed that all of that structure has been abolished. “

• “I am in strong agreement with the government that Universities have a strong responsibility to moderate what happens on campus. Sometimes some of the statements that people make can create an atmosphere in which the more extreme ideas that come about can be fostered. Free speech is important but to be pumping out messages of hatred and division between people is wrong. “

• On her new “Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements” initiative to get paid interns from all backgrounds into Parliament Hazel said:” Our first intake of 12 will start in the Autumn. I want it to transform the lives of people who come, they will have a contact book to die for! And I want to see people who do a job of work get paid not just in politics but in journalism, the law and other professions too, it is rife, they should be paid the national minimum wage. “
• “I just feel talent will come through, but if you can’t get into politics because the doors aren’t open to you we are missing out on all that talent. I want politics, my Cabinet, my government to take in people who have a range of life experiences.”

Women2Win: Looking Towards 2015 – The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

It was a five year birthday party and a packed celebration of the Conservative Women2Win Campaign that saw a record 49 of their women MPs elected to Parliament in the 2010 General Election. But not content with their numbers the campaign is marching on to get even more Conservative women MP elected in the next General Election probably in 2015. So could the event panellists envisage a gender balanced parliament in the next ten years? Our intrepid reporter Linda Fairbrother talked to them as the celebrations came to a lively and vibrant conclusion.

Linda began with the Guest Speaker, The Rt Hon Theresa May MP Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, then together she chatted to Helen Grant MP, Priti Patel MP, Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics, University of Bristol and Jackie Ashley, Columnist, The Guardian.

http://www.wpradio.co.uk would like to thank: Brooks Newmark MP & Baroness Morris of Bolton Co-Chairmen of Women2Win & Alexandra Robson & Baroness Jenkin of Kennington Director of Women2Win & Co-Founder of Women2Win. Find out more http://www.women2win

• The Rt Hon Theresa May MP told Linda: “In terms of Constituency and boundary changes, Women2Win will carry on the work we are doing. We are looking forward to encouraging more women into Parliament in 2015 there will be boundary changes and we are now in government, not in opposition so we are not in the process of having a very large number of seats to win to get into government. “
• “The Party did do quite a lot, we didn’t go all the way to create All-women shortlists, but the creation of the “A” list the “Priority” list, the Open primaries, the all postal Open Primaries too. We have done a lot in the past of course we will have to look at the new scenario and what needs to be done in future as well.”
• Priti Patel MP told Linda: “Women2Win has transformed and revolutionised the desire and conviction in the Conservative Party to get more women elected and getting more women involved in public office. We have had tremendous support from Women2Win, it has been tremendous in telling us what it is all about.”
• Helen Grant MP told Linda:” Women2Win was a fantastic recruitment and development organisation for women. It attracted women into politics and helped to grow them into politicians and the help could be anything from holding your hand with media interviews to attending influential events. Marvellous!”

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4. The top four downloads show our cross-party appeal to our listeners: 1. Hazel Blears Interview 203 2. Sally Keeble How the budget is helping grandparents 171 3. Theresa May Interview 159 4. Anne Begg Parliamentary Education Service Question Time 123. 5 Anne Begg – Parliamentary reform and MPs expenses. The ERS documentary on women MPs had 99 downloads.

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7. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

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