Friday, April 18, 2008

Rest In Peace Gwyneth Dunwoody

I've just been given the very sad news that Gwyneth Dunwoody, Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich has passed away.

I had been writing a long post about female MPs in the house, but somehow it seems a bit inappropriate now,my comments about Gwyneth were rather unkind.

When I joined the house in 1982, I had hoped that Gwyneth and I would be very good friends. She being one of the few women in parliament, me being a female trailblazer destined for greatness. ..
Both of Gwyneth's grandmothers were suffragettes, and obviously I would want to associate with someone of such distinguished feminist pedigree.

However, I'm sure you probably know that Gwyneth and I didn't really see eye to eye.
She seemed to think I didn't know what I was in parliament for and I felt the same way (about her, not me. Duurghh!). Women are in parliament to help and support each other, Gwyneth always seemed like she felt there were more important things to do.

She once said that I was 'one of certain, particular women who were of the opinion that they had a God-given right to be among the chosen'. Not very helpful as you can imagine!

I remember in November 2000, when I brought in some great reforms, to make the commons more women friendly. Limiting late night sittings and so on, I didn't expect anyone, least of all a woman to complain. I was wrong.

So, Gwyneth Dunwoody, was invited to welcome the greater freedom to plan HER OWN timetable that these wonderful reforms would bring. Do you know what she said?
"I did not think I was coming to Parliament to have my day secured, I rather thought I was coming to this place to examine in considerable detail laws that carry sanctions against people's lives."

Well I never!
I can't say I ever understood Gwyneth's politics, but many people out there thought she was the business. I know she will be missed.

Rest In Peace, Gwyneth Dunwoody.

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