FORMER Home Secretary Jacqui Smith visited Wyre Forest Labour Women’s Group to discuss ways of increasing the participation of more local women in politics.

Ms Smith was the guest star speaker at the event at Stourport Manor on October 6 with the aim of inspiring other women to follow in her footsteps and get involved in politics.

She is still active in Labour Women’s Network and, as well as discussing her own journey, there was a lively debate about challenges and opportunities for females in Wyre Forest.

Wyre Forest Labour Women’s Group want to see more women stand as candidates and their immediate plans are for further training sessions, including canvassing tips in preparation for upcoming elections.

Meg Clay, Labour Women’s Officer and organiser of the event said: “It was exciting to hear from such an experienced and knowledgeable politician as Jacqui.

“Having been brought up in Worcestershire, she became the first woman Home Secretary. It shows that local women do have the potential for the highest office, and can rise to the top.

“There is nothing that should hold any woman back and this is the message we will be delivering to women in the district.

“We will be encouraging more Labour women to become involved in local politics as well as stand for council in order to ensure that the issues of concern to us are high on the political agenda. Only that way can we achieve true equality.”

Stephen Brown, Wyre Forest Labour Media Officer, added: “It’s fantastic that our women members are getting organised, getting advice, and preparing to undertake canvassing training sessions.

“It’s important Labour women get more involved in local politics in what is regarded generally as a bit of a man’s world.

“We all want to see these attitudes change and our women members are seizing the initiative for themselves to make it happen. It’s brilliant. There is so much enthusiasm and optimism when day by day, slowly but surely, we get nearer to a Labour Government.

“Jacqui Smith has had an amazing journey to get to the top of Government and I hear that she offered some good, practical, sound, advice.

“We are acutely aware that locally we need more women Labour candidates and this is a great way to achieve that so voters get more choice.”