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Shock as Government agrees with Bill Cash

11 December 2013

Something extraordinary happened on the Committee corridor in Parliament today. A government Secretary of State turned up to a session led by veteran troublemaker Bill Cash to accept a bill that the Tory MP was pushing. More extraordinary still to those unfamiliar with the range of subjects that Cash takes an interest in is that this had nothing to do with Europe: it was his Gender Equality Bill.

Cash has been plugging away at this Bill, which lays a statutory duty on the International Development Secretary to ensure that women and girls are supported and promoted through UK aid. It’s something that Cash is passionate about after visiting a number of developing countries and speaking to women who have been victims of oppression, and in spite of coming very near the bottom in the ballot for Private Members’ Bills this year, he decided he was going to resort to other methods to get the Bill through Parliament. He approached Justine Greening, who was very keen on the idea, and her department has helped Cash draft the legislation so that it is legally viable. It finished its committee stage in the House of Commons this afternoon, and Greening made the unusual move of attending the committee (normally this sort of thing is the pleasure of a junior minister) to offer her support. I chatted to her after the committee, where she seemed very cheery, if slightly dazed that she had just, on behalf of the government, agreed with Bill Cash:

‘This is what I had already made a policy priority for the department, which was to have women and girls as a priority, to promote women and girls and make sure that we support them through our work. The point about Parliament approving this Bill is it’s not just a DfID opinion, it’s the representatives of the people and in terms of going to other countries and being able to say that this is something that our Parliament wants, that’s hugely important.’

Normally when Bill Cash crops up in the news, it’s because he’s causing trouble. But MPs have many facets, and Bill Cash’s Gender Equality Bill is another example of that.

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Show comments
  • Noa

    So, even if Mr Cash opposes the appalling waste of government borrowing in using it to pay for Foreign Aid, he is prepared to support socialist ‘gender’ politics?
    Is he really pleased to pay for the education of female Pakistani, Indian and Nigerian nuclear scientists when Britain’s own nuclear industry and the consequent opportunites for women scientists, was sold to Japan?

  • Smithersjones2013

    More gender discrimination. Marvellous!

  • Daniel Maris

    Sorry – this is the same government under which not a single prosecution on FGM has yet taken place? Because there seems to be a bit of a mismatch there.

  • Chris

    I’m sure Labour will scupper it at the instigation of the pakistani community. Can’t have aid interfering with their culture in which a woman must provide four muslim male witnesses to be allowed to bring a rape accusation.

  • Mr_Reasonable

    “Greening made the unusual move of attending the committee (normally this sort of thing is the pleasure of a junior minister) to offer her support.”

    Shurely Greening is a junior minister?

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