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Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield calls for better representation of women at top of government

Women make up the majority of the workforce in the NHS and schools - but are not being given a fair voice during the Covid-19 pandemic.

So said MP Rosie Duffield at Prime Minister's Questions today, as she called on Boris Johnson to address the lack of women both in scientific advisory roles and appearing at daily Downing Street coronavirus briefings.

MP Rosie Duffield addressed Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Parliament today
MP Rosie Duffield addressed Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Parliament today

Calling for more equal representation, the MP for Canterbury, who also chairs the Women's Parliamentary Labour Party group, said: "Women make up the vast majority of the workforce in our NHS, social care sector and our schools.

"However, there's only a handful of women on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies committee, and only one woman in the cabinet has led the Downing Street briefing in the last eight weeks, and on very few occasions.

"Does the Prime Minister agree with me, as the chair of the largest group of female MPs in this house, that we need a change of tone and more female voices at the top of government to reflect the majority of the UK population, almost 52% of whom are in fact women?

"And if not, why not?"

Responding to Ms Duffield, the Prime Minister agreed with the issue she had raised.

"Actually I think that she has an extremely important point," said Mr Johnson.

He went on to refer to two recent "important appointments" that have seen women take on leading roles, citing these as being part of "dramatic action" he has taken to address the imbalance.

"One of the reasons we're making such fast progress I think now on tests and on trades is that Dido Harding has come on board, and Kate Bingham is leading the national effort to co-ordinate our search for a vaccine with other countries," he said.

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