Meg Hillier warns women against Westminster career

Meg Hillier on the campaign trail (Photo: Hoxton Councillors)

 

Junior Home Office minister Meg Hillier is no longer encouraging women to enter politics. 

Hillier, elected Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch on an all-women shortlist in 2005, said she is no longer as enthusiastic about female parliamentarians as she was a few years ago.

“Now I am sounding a strong note of caution,” said Hillier, a former councillor who in 1998 became Islington’s youngest ever mayor. 

The mother-of-three added: “The new expenses system makes it very challenging for anyone with young children.” 

She said many of the candidates standing in 2010 had young families and would find life in Westminster hard, especially if their constituencies were not nearby. 

“I’m lucky to be an inner London MP and be able to go and see my children between votes.” 

Last April, Hillier took maternity leave following the birth of her third child. With David Cameron soon to become a father again, she advised that the prospective Prime Minister would have to very organised. 

“Being a working parent is challenging whatever you do,” she said. “It’s always hard juggling [work and childcare].” 

“I just have to have good childcare and have my children well trained,” said Hillier, adding that she sometimes finds herself up in the early hours baking for the school fair and that her kitchen floor is “never swept”. 

But she said she tries to follow fellow Hackney MP Diane Abbott’s example and make time for her children. “I try not to say no to things,” she said. 

As a busy working mother, she said she found the way Samantha Cameron and Sarah Brown were being used as campaign tools “a bit old fashioned”. 

“My husband wouldn’t do it for me and it would be interesting to see if the boot was on the other foot what would happen,” she said. 

This interview was originally conducted for the Hackney Post website.

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