HC Deb 23 February 1998 vol 307 cc15-6
15. Ms Julie Morgan

What plans she has to promote international women's day. [29088]

Ms Ruddock

The Government's most important contribution to promoting international women's day will be the debate that we have arranged for this Friday. We are ensuring that Parliament has the opportunity to discuss women's priorities and how the Government are delivering on their promises to women.

Ms Morgan

Does my hon. Friend agree that child care facilities are needed in the House, both for members of staff and for elected Members and that, in the new institutions that we are setting up—the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament—child care facilities should be built in from the beginning? Does she agree that Cardiff city hall, one of the options that is being considered to house the National Assembly for Wales, has a ready-made, established, creche? Does she agree that that is a great advantage?

Madam Speaker

That was very international—well done.

Ms Ruddock

My hon. Friend would not expect me to be drawn into where the Welsh assembly should be sited. However, in respect both to this Parliament and to any of the new institutions, the Ministers for Women are extremely keen that Members and people who work in these premises have the opportunity to express their child care needs. It is our view that all institutions should have regard to family-friendly conditions of employment and to assistance with child care. When my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I recently visited the European Parliament, we saw the excellent facilities it makes available not just to Members, but to the many staff who work in the buildings.

I urge my hon. Friend to join us in the debate on Friday, when she will be able to discuss—as, I hope, will many other hon. Members—whether child care is required, where it should be provided and the sort of child care that we want. Our priorities will be discussed on Friday and I urge hon. Members to be here to debate them.

Mr. Gray

Is the hon. Lady aware that an analysis of the list of Labour candidates at the election shows that it contained more public school boys than women? What steps will she take to stamp out that disgraceful inequality before the next general election?

Ms Ruddock

I very much hope that the hon. Gentleman will join us on Friday, when he will be able to express all his concerns about the representation of women, which is a key priority for the Ministers for Women. I can say with pride that our party has put women to the fore and ensured that there is now a record number of women in the House. I hope that the hon. Gentleman's party, and all others, will look carefully at equal representation for women, which I trust they will endeavour to bring about in all new institutions when they have the opportunity to do so.

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