COMMONS

Chair nominations for Women and Equalities Committee

On Thursday 4 June 2015, nominations open for Select Committee Chairs. On this page you can find the full list of nominees for the Women and Equalities Committee, which is updated daily during the nomination period.  The Committee Chair will be a member of the Conservative Party. Nominations close at 5pm on Wednesday 10 June.

Nominated by (own party) 

Mrs Caroline Spelman, Sir Eric Pickles, Nick Herbert, Paul Maynard, Chloe Smith, Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Mr Nigel Evans, Mr David Jones, Richard Graham, James Berry, Dr Sarah Wollaston, Nicola Blackwood, Mr Ranil Jayawardena, Fiona Bruce, Mr Keith Simpson

Nominated by (other parties) 

Frank Field, Meg Hillier, Mrs Sharon Hodgson, Kate Green, Barry Gardiner

Statement

Equality legislation helps set out a framework for a fair Britain, whoever we are and where ever we are from. Giving people equality of opportunity matters because it helps define our society.

The vital role of this new Select Committee is to scrutinise and help improve the effectiveness of Government equality policy in delivering on this important principle of fairness. Britain has a proud history of challenging inequity and intolerance but, in any society, there will always be a need to shine a light on discrimination in whatever form it takes.

It would be an immense privilege to serve as the first Chair of this newly formed committee. In my experience as a Minister I have seen how a well-run Select Committee can collect evidence to refine and develop better policy, effectively hold Ministers and organisations to account; and so create real momentum for change. These are all things I feel the new Women and Equalities Select Committee has to do.

The Government Equality Office, the department this Select Committee is attached to, has day to day responsibility for gender equality issues and also a strategic responsibility for all the equality strands. So the new Committee will have the opportunity to range broadly. Much of the Committee’s work will cut across departmental boundaries and all of it will provoke impassioned and compelling debate over the course of this Parliament. One of the biggest challenges for the committee will be to focus its’ work on that which can’t easily be tackled by other Select Committees.

Relevant Experience

  • I have experience of holding the positions of Minister for Disabled People, Minister for Women and Equalities and Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport. I therefore have a detailed and extensive understanding of Government and how different departments work together.
  • As a Minister I was responsible, amongst other things, for the Equal Marriage Act which passed through Parliament with cross party support, improving support for disabled people to work, promoting modernisation of the workplace and an increased profile for women’s sport as part of the Olympic Legacy. 
  • I am Vice Chair of the Women in Parliament APPG actively promoting the importance of a more representative Parliament.
  • I also have 18 years of experience in the advertising and marketing industry, latterly as a company director and employer. 
  • I have been, for the last 20 years, a working mother.

Work of the Committee

This is a newly created select committee supported by Government and Parliament. I think there will be an important opportunity at the start for members to be able to listen to wider views about equality priorities before finalizing its’ own views. Some of the areas I hope the committee will want to cover in its’ work are: women’s access to executive management jobs, the media and arts record on equality, disabled people’s participation in society, and the Government’s policies supporting Transgender men and women.