Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her very thoughtful speech, and she is absolutely right. Those of us who, many years ago, marched and took to the streets to protect the Abortion Act 1967 and ensure that it was not in any way interfered with did so because we knew about the extremely important point that she is making. It was not because we wanted people to have terminations of pregnancies; it was all about women having a right of control over their bodies. That is about empowerment, a lack of prejudice, their freedom and a lack of discrimination.
The right hon. Lady makes an excellent point. We have to allow women the world over to control their own bodies and therefore their own lives. However, there is still much work to be done, both nationally and internationally. Today, on International Women’s Day, I call upon our female Prime Minister to call on President Trump to reverse the global gagging order. A woman Prime Minister who is prepared to stand up for women around the world would do that.
Does the hon. Lady agree that one of the problems is the fact that we do not have as many trade unions operating in as many workplaces? I used to be the mother of the chapel when I worked at Central Television, which was obviously a very long time ago. One of the things that shop stewards do is to act on behalf of all their members when, as sometimes happens, they are fearful of stepping up to say the sort of things that the hon. Lady rightly identifies. If we had better, more democratic, more open trade unions, that would go a long way towards advancing the cause of women.
I completely agree. Let me put on record that if I were ever to face problems in my workplace, I would certainly hope that the hon. Lady would act as shop steward.