Leading women from the main political parties are to take part in an election debate this week in what is being seen as an antidote to the testosterone-fuelled television clashes that will dominate the campaign.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, Conservative Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom and senior women from the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and Ukip will take part in what is believed to be the only all-female debate of the election. Wednesday’s event is organised by the children’s charity 4Children and will be hosted by ITV’s Kate Garraway. While any subject is up for debate, the politicians will take questions from parents at a primary school in the key marginal constituency of Battersea, south London, who are expected to ask about childcare, education and family budgets.
All political parties have been courting female voters, with the Lib Dems identifying women as key in their must-win seats and Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman’s Woman to Woman tour with its controversial pink bus.
Imelda Redmond, the chief executive of 4Children, said: “With a general election campaign likely to be dominated by men – and knowing that mothers in particular want to see more from women in politics – 4Children is excited to host our all-female panel.
“Our theme ‘Stronger families, stronger economy’ highlights the link between prospects for families and prospects for our economy. It recognises that if we fail to support families we can end up with higher levels of unemployment, a higher benefits bill, a reduction in tax receipts and ultimately poorer outcomes for children. 4Children is calling on all political parties to put children and families at the heart of their offer.”