Bath’s MP, Wera Hobhouse has won a Newcomer MP of the Year Award given by the Patchwork Foundation – a charity that campaigns to promote, encourage and support the active participation of young people from under-represented, disadvantaged and minority communities in British democracy and civil society.
The Foundation honours MPs on an annual basis – recognising those who have worked hard to support the most disadvantaged communities through their policymaking or campaigns they have supported. MPs are chosen by the public and an independent panel of judges in a variety of categories.
Awarded for her integral role in seeing through the Voyeurism bill, which outlaws upskirting, the judges wanted to praise Wera Hobhouse for her tenacious campaigning and cross-party efforts to ensure the bill passed through the Commons.
Accepting her award, Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, said:
“I am delighted and honoured to have been chosen for this prestigious award. Our diversity is our strength and I feel passionate about working with underrepresented groups and make sure they are seen, heard and celebrated. Women are still amongst the underrepresented and crimes against women are still widespread. It has been a highlight of my career in Parliament so far that my Private Members Bill on Upskirting became law and Upskirting is now a specific criminal offence.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Edward Davey said: “I would like to congratulate Wera Hobhouse for winning the Patchwork Foundation award and for all her efforts and hard work in encouraging young people from under-represented communities to engage in the political process. I’d particularly like to thank the Foundation and all the Patchworkers for their amazing efforts enabling young people from disadvantaged and underrepresented communities to experience politics through the #GetInvolved initiative. In this difficult period with coronavirus, we need to celebrate diversity and young people even more.”
Imran Sanullah, CEO, Patchwork Foundation commented: “The MP of the Year Awards shine a spotlight on those Members of Parliament who go above and beyond to advocate for underrepresented communities. With this being our sixth year of the Awards, over 100 MPs were nominated for making the job for the judges that much more difficult. This unique award is just one way through which we can showcase the tremendous work achieved by our elected officials – work that deserves to be recognised and celebrated.”
In light of Covid-19 restrictions the awards, usually a Parliamentary reception, were for the first time been announced on Twitter with award winners sharing acceptance speeches via video.
Amidst the rising concerns that Covid-19 is already having an impact on social inequality, Patchwork Foundation continues in its mission to signal that representative and empathetic leadership in disadvantaged communities is necessary in times of crisis.
Other notable judges’ winners this year included Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP who won the Overall MP of the Year Award for his work championing underrepresented communities throughout his long career as a senior politician; the Labour Party MP of the year Stella Creasy MP for her work on the gender pay gap, maternity leave for MPs and equal access to abortion in the UK; Newcomer Conservative MP Vicky Ford MP and her work trying to eradicate cyber flashing; Newcomer Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP for his brave speech to Parliament about being HIV positive and work he has done locally to prevent the privatisation of schools; Other Parties MP of the year award went this year to Tommy Sheppard MP recognising his work helping people with drug addiction; Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP who won the Conservative MP of the year award for her support for refugee resettlement and Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP won overall Newcomer MP of the Year for his work tackling hate crime.
People’s choice winners for 2019 included overall people’s choice winner of the year Justin Madders MP; Overall newcomer of the year Ben Lake MP; Labour People’s choice Debbie Abrahams MP, Conservative People’s choice Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and other parties people’s choice Caroline Lucas MP.
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Patchwork Foundation, a registered charity, was founded in 2011 with the mission to promote, encourage and support the active participation of young people from under-represented, disadvantaged and minority communities in British democracy and civil society. The Foundation widens and deepens the involvement of young people from diverse backgrounds across the UK. www.patchworkfoundation.org.uk