Interview with Rachel Maclean MP

In the first of a new series of weekend interviews our Online Editor, Matt Snape speaks to Rachel Maclean MP after a very interesting week in politics.

Rachel was elected as the new Conservative Member of Parliament for Redditch in the 2017 General Election. Rachel chairs three All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) – Women in Parliament, Carers and Endangered Species.

Matt Snape : Hi Rachel, let’s start with the burning question of the day – what are your views on how the new PM can achieve the best Brexit deal?

Rachel Maclean MP: The new Prime Minister must secure a deal which can command the support of the ERG and the DUP.  There are also 30 or so Labour MPs who would vote for a deal. I’m confident that if the backstop can be removed than a deal can get through the House of Commons. However, if a deal can’t be agreed, then we must leave the EU, deal or no deal, on October 31st.  

What are your views on a new PM potentially proroguing Parliament?

The Prime Minister has said that he does not intend to suspend Parliament, and nor do I believe a majority of MPs would allow Parliament to be prorogued.

Post-Brexit, what do you think the new PM should be concentrating on? I noticed on your website ending intergenerational conflicts was one of them?

We must get back to focussing on an ambitious domestic agenda, which means investing in public services, boosting school funding in Redditch, seeing services returned to the Alexandra Hospital and more police on the streets of my constituency.

With Iran featuring in the news recently, how do you feel a new PM should approach this issue when engaging with the US President?

Of course the Prime Minister must engage with the US President on this issue. The special relationship is essential to not only our security, but to the world’s security. I’m sure Prime Minister Johnson will be in close contact with President Trump to ensure a robust response to Iran’s heightening of tensions, and to ensure British ships are safe as they travel through the Gulf.

Please explain to readers the significance of the Domestic Abuse Bill you are supporting.

Domestic abuse is an horrific crime and we must do everything we can to support victims, as well as ensuring offenders face the full weight of the law. The needs of victims are at the heart of this Bill, and the measures included go further than ever before in tackling this horrific crime. Measures in the Bill include, introducing the first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse, which will include economic abuse, establishing a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to champion victims and survivors and prohibiting the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in the family courts. The Bill is the most comprehensive package ever presented to Parliament to tackle domestic abuse, both supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.

How can the Government ensure patients are receiving good services from their local hospital, particularly in Redditch where you recently commented on how centralisation is failing?

We can ensure they receive good services from the Alex by returning services to the town’s hospital. My constituents have never accepted the removal of maternity and paediatric services from the Alex to Worcestershire Royal. This is why all options must remain on the table, including seeing services returned to the Alex.

I’m also encouraged by the Prime Minister’s announcement of 20 hospital upgrades. I was the first in the queue in the House of Commons to ask him that the Alex and the Worcestershire Royal are at the top of his list.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

I’d have to say my proudest achievement so far is getting menopause education on the school curriculum. Our children are already taught about periods, but up until now they haven’t been taught about the menopause which will affect every woman and every man who lives with and works with a woman.

The menopause is more than just hot flushes, it can have a severe impact on a woman’s life. The more understanding there is of the menopause, the more women will be able to continue to contribute to our economy. Far too many women are thrown on the scrapheap because of the severe impact of the menopause, this must change. Menopause education on the school curriculum is a big step in the right direction, but there is much more to do.

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