South Leeds: Pink bus in bid to woo women

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LABOUR’S DEPUTY leader was grilled by the ladies of south Leeds when the party’s controversial pink bus rolled into the region.

Harriet Harman faced tough questions on childcare, the living wage and benefits for mums when she arrived in the Rothwell branch of Morrisons yesterday. (March 16)

Harriet Harman at Morrisons, Rothwell, chatting to staff on her Woman to Woman tour.

Harriet Harman at Morrisons, Rothwell, chatting to staff on her Woman to Woman tour.

The visit was organised as part of the party’s Woman to Woman campaign, a tour of the UK designed to encourage more women to vote in this year’s general election.

“This constituency is one of the worst for female turnout,” said Ms Harman.

“A lot of men didn’t vote in the last election, but even more women didn’t.”

Supermarket staff Amanda Brown, 36, and Lyndsay Connor, 28, of Rothwell both revealed their plights as lone parents during a question and answer session with leader Ed Miliband’s right-hand woman.

Mother-of-two Miss Brown said: “If one of my children is off I have to take the day off and I don’t get paid.

“The promotions are there if you want them, but you’d be back to square one in terms of child care.

Meanwhile Miss Connor, who has a 10-year-old son, said: “My mum works full-time and during the summer holidays she uses her two days off a week to care for my son so I can go out to work. She doesn’t get a break.

“I used to put him in a club but it cost £30 a day.”

Ms Harman said that since the pink bus, which attracted criticism from some commentators over the “patronising” choice of colour, hit the road the issue of child care and gender pay have been the most pressing issues on women’s minds ahead of May’s election.

She said: “We are offering 25 hours of free childcare per week for every three and four year old.”