#OPENUP Mass Lobby of Parliament!

Over 60 MPs were called on to back the #OPENUP Women’s Futures campaign at WIP’s first ever Mass Lobby of Parliament which took place on Wednesday 26th June 2019.

Women’s Centre support staff, campaigners and those with lived experience of the criminal justice system travelled to Parliament to ask their MP to take action to reduce the women’s prison population and to grow and support the vital work of community-based support services.

During the meetings, MPs heard women’s personal journeys and how Women’s Centres tackle the root cause of offending by providing holistic, gender-specialist and trauma-informed support. MPs were given a Resource Pack and asked to pledge their support by becoming a champion for their local women’s centre, lobbying Treasury Ministers to use the £80 million received from the sale of Holloway Prison (the only women’s prison in London) to sustain the specialist network of women’s centres and to sign Early Day Motion #2522 (up to 43 signatures!).

The day ended with a powerful spoken word performance by Lady Unchained which remembered those who are still behind the prison gates. We also heard speeches from WIP’s CEO Kate Paradine, the Victims Commissioner for England and Wales Vera Baird and Justice Minister Edward Argar.

WIP’s Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager Claire Cain said: “A huge thank you to all those who joined us from across the country - Birmingham, Nottingham, Brighton, Bristol, Derby, Manchester - and shared their powerful stories with MPs. We are already starting to see the impact from this event with MPs speaking up in Parliament and visiting their local Women’s Centre. We look forward to continuing our campaign together to #OPENUP Women’s Futures in every community.”

The Mass Lobby is just the beginning of our campaign to #OPENUP Women’s Futures.. Our next steps will be holding the MPs to account who attended the lobby and pledged to take action and reaching out to those who were unable to join us.