Labour’s Woman to Woman campaign stopped off at Ealing Hospital this week to make a stand against the planned closure of the maternity unit.
The nationwide campaign involves the party’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, touring more than 70 seats in a pink minibus, with the aim of reaching out to the female population ahead of the General Election and encouraging them to vote.
The tour bus, without Ms Harman this time, stopped at Ealing Hospital on Wednesday (March 4) where a demonstration took place involving: Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Ealing Central and Acton Rupa Huq; Diane Abbott MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987, when she became the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons; Oona King, Baroness King of Bow; Leader of Ealing Council Julian Bell; London Assembly Member for Ealing and Hillingdon Onkar Sahota; and women from the community, some of who were pushing buggies.
Ms Huq said: “The bus is driving around the country to encourage women to vote against the background of failing turnouts and the political alienation of women. It aims to reinvigorate women and get them involved in politics.
“It’s a head turner of a vehicle and we got a good reception from people tooting their horns and putting their thumbs up.”
Ms Huq said Ealing has the third highest birth rate in London, hence why it needs a maternity service.
When asked what she thought about criticisms the famous pink bus has received with regards to its ‘patronising’ colour, Ms Huq said the colour was just a detail, and the important thing to highlight was the attempt to show women are often an afterthought in politics and women’s issues should not be secondary.
She said: “Some people have been sniffy about the colour but it (the tour bus) has succeeded in getting people to talk about women’s issues.”
Mr Sahota said: “Everyone wants to see a parliament which reflects the country it serves. The fact is that women make up 51% of the population in the UK, but only 23% of MPs.
“I am proud the Labour party is committed to tackling this inequality head on and opposing policies which would make life much harder for women such as the Government’s closure of Ealing’s maternity department.”