Politicians: a dereliction of duty

Since our inception in September 2017, we have sought, and taken, every opportunity we could to meet with politicians and policy makers. Often this has only been possible on the condition of privacy.

We met several senior Labour party figures including John McDonnell and Dawn Butler. John McDonnell announced that he had met us during a Mumsnet interview. The group meeting we had with Dawn Butler was meant to be private but a list of those attending was leaked to P*nk News who published some of the names. Dawn Butler’s office denied the leak came from them.

We met with the Women’s Parliamentary Labour Party group.

We met with senior figures in the Green Party. We worked hard to agree a joint statement about this meeting but, just as we were about to publish, they asked us to withhold the statement while a complaint we had made about a Green Party Officer was investigated.

The investigation took so long that the statement was never made.  

We have asked for meetings with several senior figures in the Conservative party but have never successfully met with any. When asked a parliamentary questions about how many meetings she and her department had held with LGBT and women’s groups, Victoria Atkins said she/her department had met with Woman’s Place five times.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 13.37.42This is not true.

We met with representatives of the Government Equality Office (GEO) twice and with senior officers at the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) once. All three of these meetings included representatives from other organisations. For more detail on this see our statement on WPUK meetings with Government.

We met Sophie Walker, then Leader of the Women’s Equality Party and she also came to our first London meeting. [1]

We met a number of other political representatives across the spectrum and we know of many supporters who have also had similar meetings. Despite most of the politicians we have met saying they understand our concerns, they have failed to say this publicly or support a space for women to meet free from intimidation and fear. A ComRes survey in October 2018 found many of them share these concerns.

It would be wrong not to recognise that a couple of MPs have acted in good faith and supported t

We have respected the wishes of those who asked us not to make public statements and we have hoped that they would do the quiet work that they promised to do.

We have grown impatient, and increasingly irritated, at politicians staying quiet in the face of lies and smears about women raising very reasonable concerns when we have had reasonable and useful discussions with so many of them.

It really is now time they spoke up publicly for women and for democracy.

27th September 2019

[1] This was omitted erroneously from the post and the information added on 28th September 2019.


We believe that it is important to share a range of viewpoints on women’s rights and advancement from different perspectives. WPUK does not necessarily agree or endorse all the views that we share.