You’ve got to give it to Harriet Harman – she doesn’t give up.
She is clearly enjoying standing in for Gordon while he is on holiday.
But if press reports are to be believed she has apparently used the opportunity to block a review into the operation of rape laws because she is unhappy with the scope of the inquiry.
She would like to see a wider review conducted which looks at the low conviction rates in rape cases, violence against women more generally and the legal question of ‘consent’.
Now, in the past I have not always been a fan of Harriet. And I also tend to think that although this is a really important issue, voters want to hear what the government is doing about the recession and getting them back into work. And this is what the Government should be talking about – Harriet included.
But you have to hand it to her. No other politician at such a senior level pursues an equality agenda with such gusto.
Over the last week, she has talked about the importance of women at the heart of government, focused on the thorny issue of the proverbial glass ceiling in the City and even said that Lehman Brothers might not have collapsed if it had been Lehman Sisters!
She may receive criticism from the likes of John Prescott for this sort of interference but this goes with the territory.
Over the years, she has consistently shown a commitment to women’s issues and now that she has an opportunity to actually do something, why shouldn’t she seize it?
In the past, there are people who have treated her with contempt. They have patronised her achievements and this has been wrong.
Since becoming Deputy Leader she has done well when she has had to stand in for Gordon at PMQs, she has robustly defended the government when needed to and she has been very clear about her purpose. In fact, she has been one of the strongest members of the government.
Unlike many of her colleagues, she is clearly not riding out the clock until the next election. I like this and she does deserve credit for that.