Mon, 27 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Rachel Maclean: It was a tough decision to resign but values, principles and integrity matter

3 min read

Last week I took the difficult decision to resign from my role as minister for safeguarding. This decision was by no means one I took lightly, but I felt it was one I had to take.

I could not in good conscience continue in this role in light of recent events, which I believe fundamentally undermined my ability to carry out what was expected of me. One of the main things I have heard from the victims of sexual harassment that I have worked with is that the fear of not being believed, or the system covering up for a powerful individual, is the number one reason that they struggle to come forward.

This post gave me the opportunity to work with some fantastic people and deliver some real change for some of the most vulnerable members of society. I am so proud of what we achieved whilst I was there, particularly in relation to violence against women and girls, and I hope that the government continues to build on this progress. I am particularly happy with our Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan, which I think will provide a strong framework to tackle the day-to-day challenges faced by victims of domestic abuse. This is an area of policy where I continue to hold significant interest and I will follow developments here with great interest.

I could not in good conscience continue in this role in light of recent events

I am looking forward to spending some time on the backbenches and continuing to advocate for the issues that matter most to my constituents. As well as continuing to focus on local priorities such as lobbying the government for greater investment and the return of maternity services to the Alexandra Hospital, I am keen to see how I can best use this time to deliver for Redditch in the coming weeks and months.

I am of course grateful to the Prime Minister for giving me the opportunity to serve in the Home Office, and for the excellent job he has done through a very challenging period. On getting Brexit done, our vaccine rollout, and standing alongside Ukraine during Putin’s invasion, the Prime Minister has certainly got a strong record – but values, principles and integrity matter, which is why I believe it is time we elect a new leader and begin to move on as a party and as a country.

We now must turn to the most pressing issues facing us as a nation: the cost of living, cutting taxes, driving growth by tackling the causes of low productivity and keeping up progress towards reducing our carbon emissions. It is these challenges which I know are affecting my constituents in Redditch, and the country as a whole.

In order to achieve this, we need a strong economic vision. This approach will create wealth for everyone, rewarding aspiration whilst protecting the most vulnerable in society from extraordinary shocks. We must also exercise strong control over our borders, with a clear set of policies to help ensure we have a firm but fair immigration system. Beyond our own borders, we must continue to stand strong in the face of Putin’s war of aggression and support our allies in Ukraine.

It is therefore imperative that we hit the ground running with our new leadership and unite behind the successful candidate to ensure we can continue to deliver for the British people. This is why I will throw my full support behind whoever should become the new leader of the Conservative party and the new Prime Minister.


Rachel Maclean is the Conservative MP for Redditch.

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