Women must be able to walk alone without fear

Elliot Chappell
© Photographee.eu/Shutterstock.com
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Women should be able to walk alone without fear. But it is simply not the case. As reports emerged that one of the Met Police’s own has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of Sarah Everard, hundreds of women shared their experiences on social media. YouGov polling shows that 97% of women ages 18 to 24 have been sexually harassed, while 80% of women in all age groups reported having experienced sexual harassment in a public place. Labour MP Jess Phillips will read out the names of the women who have died at the hands of men in the annual International Women’s Day debate this afternoon. She will read out 118 names – almost one death for every three days of the year. Campaigners are calling on the government to take the problem seriously, tackling the issue across the criminal justice system and introducing new legislation.

Labour will this morning launch its national campaign for the elections in May. “A vote for Labour is a vote to support our nurses,” Keir Starmer is expected to declare, drawing a dividing line between his party and the Tories over the pay scandal sparked recently as government recommended a 1% pay rise for NHS staff – amounting to a real-terms cut. And Labour is urging Boris Johnson to “set the record straight” after he falsely claimed in PMQs yesterday that the opposition party had voted against a proposed 2.1% pay rise in the long-term NHS plan. The proposal was not, in fact, put to a formal vote in the Commons last year. It was instead ‘nodded through’ without a ‘division’ being called, as Jonathan Ashworth pointed out.

“Under my leadership, and with our great local candidates across the country, Labour offers a very different route to recovery,” Starmer will tell those watching the launch event online today. Echoing his 2020 Labour conference speech, he will argue: “This is a different Labour Party, under new leadership and we’re making a different offer to the British people.” We can also expect to hear speeches from Scottish and Welsh Labour leaders Anas Sarwar and Mark Drakeford, as well as deputy leader Angela Rayner, the West Yorkshire mayoral candidate Tracy Brabin and London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Rachel Reeves will deliver the annual Harold Wilson lecture at the University of Bradford this evening. The Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is expected to tell attendees that “perhaps Britain in 2021 would not look so unfamiliar to Harold Wilson”, remarking that the former Labour Prime Minister took on “another old Etonian, and at an old boys’ network which constrained Britain’s potential and threatened to lead us in the wrong direction”.

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