MP Leadsom delivers LJMU Roscoe Lecture

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Andrea Leadsom addresses crowds in St George’s Hall Pic © Tiarnan Quigley JMU Journalism

One of the leading and most outspoken members of the Government visited Liverpool, as the leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom MP, gave LJMU’s 158th Roscoe Lecture at St George’s Hall.

The prominent ‘Brexiteer’ joined a long and illustrious list of names to have spoken at the series, as she gave her talk entitled: “The #MeToo wake-up call?”

During the passionate hour-long lecture on Thursday, the 55-year-old discussed her experiences of what she described as “entrenched misogyny” after becoming the youngest senior female executive at a major British bank.

Mrs Leadsom also discussed how some of the same behaviour she experienced decades ago was still prevalent in the House of Commons today.

She told the audience: “I have heard time and time again the sort of behaviour that has driven people out of politics. More often than not, these behaviours are exhibited by people in positions of power and it has gone unchallenged for years, and in 2018 I don’t need to tell you, it’s not good enough.”

YouTube: Tiarnan Quigley

She put partisan politics aside and praised the other parties in the House of Commons for coming together to try to create a fairer society and a democracy that everyone can participate in.

According to Mrs Leadsom, the cross-party taskforces set up in the aftermath of the abuse scandal “turned into a good example of collaborative working driven by a shared desire to make a difference”.

She took aim at the outdated practices operating in Westminster and called for MPs to “fundamentally rethink our government structures in the Houses of Parliament”, and stated that it was her personal view that the problem in the Commons is “authority without accountability and accountability without authority”.

Fielding questions from JMU students Pic © Tiarnan Quigley JMU Journalism

Concluding her lecture, the MP for South Northamptonshire said: “MeToo is bigger than Westminster; it represents the significant moment that our society realised that together we need to make a real change. We can only expect to take the lead and be the best if we take risks, if we challenge the status quo.”

To finish off her visit to Liverpool, Mrs Leadsom also took time to sit down with students from LJMU. She was grilled on what Brexit means for the UK and, in particular, what the consequence are for people from the EU living and studying in the UK.

She stressed that no matter what the outcome of next Tuesday’s vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, all EU citizens who are currently here will be able to stay, and students plus people who live and work here will have their rights honoured – even if there is no deal agreed with the EU.

Mrs Leadsom said: “To be very clear, in all the circumstances EU citizens who are here their rights will be protected.”

About Tiarnan Quigley, JMU Journalism