So – at last – a question on the Order Paper in Parliament about the Single Equalities Act. I have, since becoming Equalities Spokesperson, been waiting to be able to raise the issue of how our rules about who gets to be monarch gives boys the advantage over girls.
As readers of this blog will know, have been having some success with raising and pushing this issue. The Sunday Times – who covered it on their front page a couple of weeks ago – helped up the ante as when Marie Woolf (journalist) rang Vera Baird (Solicitor General) – and the minister said of course these rules should be abolished – and threw in abolishing discrimination against Catholics too. You go girl.
It’s obviously working as lots of members from all sides of the House raised the issue (for which the technical term is the dry as dust phrase ‘male preference primogeniture’). But since the article the Government has been trying to back peddle on what Vera Baird said – and whilst the Tory front bench spokesperson seemed to be in favour of change – he tried to talk up problems – because any change has to be worked through the Commonwealth – suggesting that it was all so difficult that we might wish not to bother to pursue it.
This sidetracked me a bit. Faced with the usual Tory attitude that somehow it doesn’t matter enough to be dealt with – I momentarily forgot that it is the Government that has to really push this. Reminded of my task my Mr Speaker – I then did pursue Labour – to try and get them to commit to actually walking the walk rather than just their usual talking the talk.
I am worried that this will be kicked into the long grass of too difficult and too much bother and the opportunity presented by the Single Equality Act going through Parliament to kill off this anachronism will be missed.
But it was very heartening to see so many members from all sides in favour of this long overdue change. So we’ll see!