Labour appoints first shadow minister to tackle violence against women and girls

Seema Malhotra (right), MP for Feltham and Heston, is taking on new role

Ed Miliband has appointed the first ever shadow Minister for Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls.

Seema Malhotra, the Labour MP for Feltham and Heston, will be working with the party’s Women’s Safety Commission drawing up new laws to be implemented if it wins next year’s general election.

As part of the shadow Home Secretary’s team, she will work on issues including female genital mutilation, forced marriage, sexual violence, trafficking and prostitution.

Ms Malhotra said she was proud to be the first person in the new role and wanted to make a difference to women who have experienced trauma in their lives.

“The level of violence against women in Britain and indeed the world is shocking and too little is being done to prevent these crimes, support the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice,” she added.

“I will be looking to change this and look forward to working with Ed and Yvette [Cooper] to make sure a Labour Government offers a real alternative to women and children trapped in cycles of violence.”

The former freelance business adviser was elected in a 2011 by-election following the death of the incumbent Alan Keen.

Mr Miliband said the appointment was “another indication of the importance a Labour government will place on tackling violence against women and girls”.

The opposition leader added: “Yvette has rightly put this at the heart of her vision for the Home Office and I look forward to continuing working with her and Seema to ensure a Labour government can make a real difference to the lives of the victims of these terrible crimes.”

Additional reporting by PA