Friday, 3 February 2012

Friend for Friday: Margot James MP

She has recently been in the news for leading attacks on cosmetic surgery, urging ministers to review the way products and services are regulated, after the recent PIP breast implant scandal. I was lucky enough to interview her for Radio 4's Any Questions? last year.

Friend for Friday: Margot James MP

A Conservative MP born and bred, Margot has recently been elected as MP for Stourbridge in 2010. Before this, she was vice-chairman of the party, with responsibility for women. With links to business and many charities, as well as being the first openly lesbian Conservative MP, I chatted to her about her time on tonight’s show, as well as her various occupations and political life.

Hi Margot! Great to witness you debating on Any Questions? tonight, how did you find the show personally?
I loved it. I have been on the show a few times now, in various different places, and this has to be the best show yet! The audience were great tonight, really engaged with the arguments and debates brought up. The questions were brilliant as well, and I thought the panel were great too…..even if Bob (Crow) went on a bit!
Now, before being elected as Stourbridge MP in May 2010, you were vice-chairman for the Conservative party, with responsibility for women. Did you find this role challenging in any way?

Well, it has to be said, the Conservatives have always had great ‘ways’ for women - we are the only party in the UK which has seen a female lead the country! I mean the role has been challenging, yes. In our culture and society, it has often been the prerogative that women have been subjected to men’s oppression (something Margot mentioned in tonight’s debate.) My focus has been to try to eradicate this injustice, and create a balance; whether it is for women, different ethnicity's or sexual orientation. However, this does not mean that I am a feminist! We have fantastic male politicians in the party and this goes without saying what a fantastic job they do, but there is still a way to go before women are treated as equals.

As well as women being a focus of debate tonight, the young were repeatedly mentioned. What are your own views on the issues young people are experiencing currently?
Well, it is a hard one really. Obviously, cuts to university spending are going to affect students, however it is needed with the tough economic climate and huge deficit we are facing. Young people are always important in society, and I do not think anyone is suggesting they are not. However, all this bad press with the strikes and what not is not the answer.

So how will politicians help the young, particularly students?
Well, there are plenty of suggestions, opportunities and benefits out there for the young. What I would suggest is that politicians need to keep hold of their ‘vital link’ with students, and work together to find solutions for issues such as youth employment and the pressure of high grades in state education. In addition, a need for honesty and clarification needs to be made too.

It sounds like you have played a part in many different areas of the political spectrum; do you ever find it a struggle finding the time to juggle these roles?
Well, I would like to make it clear that my only role now is as the MP for Stourbridge - my constituency is my pride and joy now. Apart from my partner, and various media appearances, I would not say I have to juggle around anything - I am 100% focusing on my local constituency and will always continue to do so.

Interviewed by Kieran Watkins

Picture Courtesy of

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