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General Press Cycle
In their haste to defend the unelected and unaccountable House of Lords the Tories have neglected one simple thing, the House of Lords already has the power to initiate legislation. Our Parliament literally gives unelected political appointees the power to make laws, this is why reform is so important. We need proper democratic accountability in the upper chamber, not unelected political appointees and retired politicians.
The Rt Hon Sir Dylan Macmillan MP
MP for Bedfordshire Mid (1983-Present)

Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (1992-Present)
Secretary of State for Energy 1987-1990

@Dylan_Macmillan
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Exceptionally proud to speak out for women and women's pay rights today during the Companies (Equal Pay) Act debate. It was a Labour government that introduced the Equal Pay Act 1970 and is now again a Labour government to take the next step towards gender pay equality! We will not stop until men and women enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities up and down our United Kingdom!
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Attending the debate on the Companies (Equal Pay) Act, I was quite shocked the Shadow Chancellor seemed unable to distinguish equal pay form gender pay gap. Firstly Saxon forgot the Minister for Women and Equalities office in his Shadow Cabinet, now Artwood confuses equal pay and gender pay gap. The very top of the Tory Party urgently needs a time machine to bring them to the 21st century equality debate.
The Rt Hon Angela Harvey MP | Labour Party, Socialist Campaign Group

Deputy Prime Minister & Deputy Leader of the Labour Party (1992 - Incumbent)
Member of Parliament for Dover (1992 - Incumbent)

Previously: "A nobody backbencher", "Backbench Spokesperson for Everything"

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I often wonder how Emily Kennedy does any work for her constituents when she is more content to preen for the press every opportunity she has. But that is this government's M.O.: tell one story to the press, another to voters and when it comes to actually governing, do next to nothing! This government is in shambles; no jobs plan, no real plan at all. But my god, let's all listen to what a nobody backbencher has to say to the press while the Chancellor raises points of debate as points of order to distract from their worthless record!
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Mr Kirton couldn't be more mistaken if he tried. This Government has in the space of two months produced two cornerstone pieces of legislation regarding the gender pay gap and the unoccupied housing scandal as well as producing a first rate Throne Speech. This Government has a plan for every occasion including an economic vision that will keep unemployment low, growth high and inflation stable. It's in the Throne Speech, maybe if the Opposition stopped looking for words and started looking for solutions they might have been able to install Hapless Harold in Number 10 Downing Street rather than having to resort to trying to install various knives into his back.
The Rt Hon Sir Dylan Macmillan MP
MP for Bedfordshire Mid (1983-Present)

Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (1992-Present)
Secretary of State for Energy 1987-1990

@Dylan_Macmillan
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Despite all of Mr Thomas' grandstanding about the dangers of the House of Lords, he ignores that nothing can happen without the agreement of the Commons - he ignores that the Commons remains supreme in the governance of this nation. Yet when he talks about his grand Senate, Mr Thomas maintains that the Commons will remain supreme. That, in a disagreement between the democratically-elected House of Commons and a democratically-elected Senate, the Commons will prevail - the primacy of the Commons will not be challenged - even if another democratically elected body disagrees. The democratic will of the Senate will be ignored if the Government deems it appropriate. Let us be clear what this means for Labour's philosophy on a democratically-elected Senate: democracy is desirable when it works for Labour, but dispensable when it doesn't. That is not a solid foundation for any democratic tradition, certainly not one as old as ours, and is but an example of the lack of thought put into Labour's plans.
The Hon Lady Eleanor Grosvenor MP
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
MP for Sevenoaks | Conservative Party
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It is the Chancellor who is mistaken. And how do we know this? Well, that's simple. Let's take a look at how many times the word "jobs" or term "job creation" was used in the Queen's Speech: it's a grand total of zero. This government does not have an economic agenda, and it is trumpeting a flawed bill that women's groups and business have spoken out against. A bill that, Labour says, will help address the wage gap; but a bill that is so flawed, it doesn't even have a date for when it will come into force. So no, Labour does not have an economic agenda. Labour has a knack for lip service, but a record of failure.
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General Press Cycle Week god knows what but lets call it 9: The Queen, the Senate & Equal Pay 

Labour: 27

Overall you came off slightly better in this exchange - you fiercely defended your policies and record pretty efficiently, and with the Tories coming out weakened post general election result due to some... interesting developments... you can start your term on a bigger high than me, or probably you, were expecting. 

One small qualm: your arguments r.e the HOL/Senate should try not to be repetitive, and your rhetoric should be tailored to match your opponents' arguments. When the Tories raise one point about the HOL, slamming them as being anti democratic and wanting to preserve their retirement home might work a few times... but it's not going to wash with every presented logistical concern, and some Tories raised solid logistical concerns this press cycle. 

Conservative: 23

Policy first, pettiness later - it's not that pettiness is bad, there needs to be some solid policy substance you leap on if you want to truly dent the government (unless a sustained, consistent and effective character assassination is organised, as Labour had done a couple of IG months back) you need to big up your own policy stripes. Otherwise you just look like the opposition, and not the government in waiting. When you guys did this, you did this well - but it wasn't enough, and tended to lean on your backbenchers. 

Influence Points Awarded to: 

Alwyn Thomas: "Newsflash, he is too busy running the country to come running whenever Headline Harry has found a new bandwagon to hop onto." So, the tagline wasn't the best sentiment in this press statement. Sorry, not sorry: Headline Harry can be sustained but it's hit its ceiling in terms of damage, and imagining the Chancellor of the Exchequer saying newsflash is amusing (perhaps endearingly so). But the press cycle overall was the best personal attack this press cycle - which is saying something because the Tories got (arguably too) vicious. 

Yes, Finch hasn't been active in the press - but that can and definitely was spun as a positive, and when Kirton attacks Finch for not appearing in the press the British public know that it'd be a lose-lose situation, because if he was press active he'd be fawning the press and too media focused as our poor new backbencher was attacked for being. This tagline shows the Tories how a personal attack is really done, namely, because it actually bigs up your PM in the first place. 

Alice Robertson: "Scrapping the equalities brief in the Shadow Cabinet just goes to show that any commitment to equality was just election dressing to show that the Conservative Party has changed." This is an owch for a few reasons: A. The Conservative Party has had some rough patches on equalities (see: section 28, and possibly on international aid and AWS'). B. The Shadow Chancellor has tried, and often succeeded, at making equality (of opportunity) the Tory Party's raison d'etre, so it scratches at that carefully cultivated image. C. The Tories did nothing to properly combat this rhetoric in the press - it was an administrative error, which is embarrassing to admit, but in this instant mistake prone hurts much less than uncaring. 

Caroline Blakesley: "democracy is desirable when it works for Labour, but dispensable when it doesn't." There are two effective ways of attacking the elected HOL thing: one is effective and reasonable practical critiques, the other is character assassination and twisting the ploy as a power grab. These have both been done, sometimes well, sometimes not, by Tories: Blakesley does both effectively in one swoop. So have an influence point. 
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The Conservative Party can no longer be taken seriously on equality. First, they scrap the Women and Equalities position in the Shadow Cabinet. Now, they have Shadow Cabinet Ministers voting against and abstaining on a bill promoting pay equity between men and women. This just proves their commitment to equality was nothing more than electoral show; they can’t even vote for their own manifesto promise.

If the Shadow Chancellor believes that, as she said during the debate, “the first action this government has taken is to bring forward legislation first proposed by members on [her] side of the House”, why aren’t Conservative MPs voting in favour of it? To their credit, some backbenchers have voted in favour of legislation implementing this legislation. But it does mean that their Party is hopelessly divided on pay equity, going three different ways.
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I am alarmed to see that the Conservatives have decided that their professional duty to attend votes and represent their constituents did not compel them to show up for the vote on the Companies (Pay Equity) Act. While I am heartened to see that this government's first legislative actions receive comprehensive cross-party support, I still see that a majority of the Conservatives simply did not cast a vote on the single-most important piece of legislation on pay equity in three decades. But the record clear: when it comes to women's rights, this Labour government talks the talk, walks the walk, and casts the votes. I look forward to continuing legislative progress in the rest of this parliamentary session.
Dame Beatrice Oona Millar DBE MP FRSE RSA | Labour
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1992- )
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead (1987- )
Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Leith (1957-1959)

Formerly: Parminder Chawla, Joshua Bertram, Lillian Nichols, Gareth Edwards, Andrew Pearson, L Chris Havilland, Mack Aldritt
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Lets make this quite clear. The Conservatives voted on the pay equity act, many Conservative MPs were in the chamber at the time of the vote. The Home Secretary is looking for a headline when there isn't one, the Conservatives voted on the pay equity act, pure and simple. 
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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Over two-thirds of Conservative Members of Parliament did not enter either Division Lobby during the voting period for the Companies (Pay Equity) Act. Leading that group – all 185 Members of Parliament – was the Leader of the Opposition. If Harry wants to make a headline on this issue, how about this one: Saxon is happy to ask a woman to vote for him in the election, but he sure as hell won't vote for you in the Commons. I applaud those who turned up to vote, be it for or against the bill, because they actually carried out their professional obligations. I cannot stand the hypocrisy of Mr Saxon on this issue, and I will not stand by to let him try to weasel his words out of this one.
Dame Beatrice Oona Millar DBE MP FRSE RSA | Labour
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1992- )
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead (1987- )
Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Leith (1957-1959)

Formerly: Parminder Chawla, Joshua Bertram, Lillian Nichols, Gareth Edwards, Andrew Pearson, L Chris Havilland, Mack Aldritt
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Passing the Pay Equity Act was an important step in tackling gender pay disparity in our country, and I was pleased to be joined by members from all parties in ensuring we pass this historic legislation, but I was incredibly disappointed to see so many Conservatives absent and none other than Saxon himself. Despite Saxon's promises throughout the election, we have come to see his true colours; a man so desperate for power he'll promise the world but skip out of town when asked to deliver. So, while Harry Saxon complains to the press because he was called out on his inability to even vote, it is Labour that is continuing to deliver progress and policies for Britain.
Rt Hon Oscar Hattingly QC MP
Member for Truro
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
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I think the Home and the Foreign Secretaries have really got the wrong end of the stick here, I was present in the chamber for the pay equity act as were many Conservative MPs, and I walked through both lobbies to abstain. Whilst Labour bicker over what the Leader of the Opposition did, this Opposition will  continue to hold this Government to account in the house as we have done on the Homes act currently in debate.
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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The Leader of the Opposition is attempting to distract everyone from the critical point: he did not for vote for legislation to tackle gender inequality. He did not vote for his own party’s manifesto commitment. Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition isn’t against tackling the gender pay gap, maybe he just doesn’t care anymore. Now the election is over he can cast aside his previous commitments to the electorate. Let’s be clear: equality doesn’t come through Conservative abstentions on the gender pay gap, but Labour action.
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The reason myself and so many other Conservative MPs abstained on the Pay Equity Act was because the bill did not go far enough. The Conservative frontbench raised valid concerns with the bill in its current format, the Home Secretary herself dismissed them. 

Let me make this quite clear, we will not support any legislation that is half-baked, this bill was a prime example of that. Whilst we agree on the necessity of putting right the issue, we wont support the Government if we feel that the legislation doesn't go far enough, and the pay equity act just didn't. 

The Conservatives on the other hand, will introduce a new bill in the coming weeks on this very issue which will be a comprehensive piece of legislation, the Government is welcome to debate it in the chamber when we present it.
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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Let's not all sit here and pretend that the Pay Equity Act is a silver bullet that will solve the wage gap in the private sector. Government ministers are up in arms because a number of my colleagues on the Conservative benches decided to abstain on a bill that will, at best, do very little - a bill that was designed, per the Home Secretary herself, to be a "name-and-shame exercise" by providing hopelessly skewed information regarding pay. The information released under this act will not tell us anything about equal pay for equal work because it doesn't stratify pay on the job level - it's only going to provide us with bulk data. What this bill will tell us is that a male CEO at a company makes more than their female secretary. Groundbreaking information, I'm certain.

Were the Government serious about combatting the gender pay gap, they would have listened to the Shadow Chancellor and worked to create legislation that would lead to actual reporting about equal pay for equal work. However, it's clear that the Government is only keen for a quick PR victory that won't fix the pay gap or substantially improve the lives of working women - even if it is the tiniest of steps in the right direction. If we're serious about improving pay equality, we need more than half measures proposed by ministers that have never stepped foot in the private sector.
The Hon Lady Eleanor Grosvenor MP
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
MP for Sevenoaks | Conservative Party
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It comes as a huge frustration that Labour policy on tackling the gender pay gap is being criticised by people not remotely informed about the whole pay equality debate. For your reference Tories, equal pay for equal work is a milestone achieved long ago by another progressive Labour government. What we do today is taking a next step forward in addressing the pay differences between men and women across the UK - which by definition looks at the grand total of pay by gender. If you're serious about improving pay equality, you first do your homework to understand what it means, and then perhaps bother to show up, debate and vote meaningfully.
The Rt Hon Angela Harvey MP | Labour Party, Socialist Campaign Group

Deputy Prime Minister & Deputy Leader of the Labour Party (1992 - Incumbent)
Member of Parliament for Dover (1992 - Incumbent)

Previously: "A nobody backbencher", "Backbench Spokesperson for Everything"

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We absolutely, absolutely must stop acting like the Labour effort to combat the gender pay gap will accomplish a great deal of anything. The data that is generated by this policy, while informative, will do little to improve the promotion and empowerment of women in the workplace. It's a half-baked, half-hearted measure from a government that only sees half the problem.

If this Government were serious about tackling the gender pay gap, we would not be discussing how we can regulate our way to equality - a path that will never succeed - but rather how Britain can create a culture of equality of opportunity for women. If we want to close the gender pay gap, we need to focus on empowering women to enter to high earning career paths, to increase representation of women in science, engineering, technology, and finance. As a woman in science, I can certainly attest to the notion that the paucity of women earning science and engineering degrees is the primary reason why more men are employed in those fields than women. Perhaps instead of celebrating a bill that will accomplish little, we should be discussing how we can provide more funding and more resources to help women get a science education. Perhaps instead of naming, shaming, and blaming businesses for having more men in high paying engineering roles because there are not enough women engineers to fill those roles, we should be discussing setting up partnerships with industry to help train and retain women in engineering. However, those ideas might make too much sense for this government that sees business as a boogeyman, prosecution as progress, and where opportunities to empower are often ignored.
The Hon Lady Eleanor Grosvenor MP
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
MP for Sevenoaks | Conservative Party
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Upon being questioned this afternoon about the Government's decision to nationalize RailTrack - a decision that improves nothing for commuters other than to change the name of the company - the Chancellor rose to the dispatch box to accuse me of 'screaming' in the chamber. Mr Thomas in that sole statement displayed his true colours - a man who sees legitimate questioning and criticism from women as nothing more than 'screaming' in his ear while the men get on with the work. 

This is an unacceptable attitude towards women in positions of influence in the 21st Century, if Alwyn cannot handle criticism from female members of the Commons he ought to step aside to someone who can. We have a right to ask questions, even if they are too annoying for the Chancellor to hear.
Dr. Evelyn Lynwood
Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (Oct 2002-????)
Conservative Member for Altrincham and Sale West
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport & Infrastructure (2002-2002)
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I find it laughable that the Conservatives would be so bereft of ideas that they would have to so deliberately and obviously take my words out of context to try and generate faux outrage about potential sexism in the Government. They would be better advised to take a look at sexism by looking at their own Leader of the Opposition who courted women's votes with gender pay equity only to fail to show up to cast his vote and who neglected to appoint a Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities until his omission was pointed out by the Labour Party. With regards to the specifics of the language that I used in my statement to the House, "It has become clear since the election that the Conservative Party are the party of fruitless opposition, constantly screaming no on issues as varied as their own manifesto commitments and responses to national crises.", it is quite clear that I described the entire Conservative Party as "screaming no", they are the party of opposition for the sake of opposition, the public found them out and quite rightly rejected them at the ballot box this year.
The Rt Hon Sir Dylan Macmillan MP
MP for Bedfordshire Mid (1983-Present)

Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (1992-Present)
Secretary of State for Energy 1987-1990

@Dylan_Macmillan
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