Labour’s pink battle bus carried the shadow deputy prime minister and an Inbetweeners star into Northampton today as part of the party’s bid to win over women voters.
MP for Camberwell and Peckham Harriet Harman joined Northampton North candidate Sally Keeble on the campaign trail, as the politicians met with mothers outside Green Oaks Primary School in Kingsthorpe this afternoon.
The politicians were joined by actress and The Inbetweeners 2 star Emily Berrington.
Mrs Harman was in town to promote Labour’s so called ‘women’s manifesto’, in which the party has pledged to offer 25 hours of free childcare for parents of three and four year olds and tougher action on violence and sex crime.
Some criticism has been levelled at the “Woman to Woman” pink battle bus tour as being ‘patronising’.
But Mrs Harman told the Chronicle & Echo: “More than nine million women didn’t vote in the last election.
“What this says to all the women here is that you are important in this election campaign and your vote matters.
“So many women think their vote doesn’t count and whatever they vote it won’t make a difference.
“What that van is an emblem of is the importance of women to vote and have their say.”
Actress Miss Berrington said: “I’ve always felt that the Labour party stood for the things that I care about, which is equality and I think so many of their policies at this election reflect that.”
But in response Conservative’s Northampton North candidate Michael Ellis, said the pink bus was a ‘gimmick’ and said the Conservatives would pledge up to 30 hours of free childcare.
He said: “Under the last Labour government women and families were left poorer.
“It’s Conservatives that have been fixing their mess. More women are in work now than ever before.
“Labour talk the talk, but it’s the Tories that have been walking the walk.”
Green Party’s Northampton north candidate Tony Clarke said: “The Green Party has some great plans for women voters but we don’ need a pink bus to shout about it.”
He also referred to the latest results in the Vote for Policies website, which matches voters to parties based on policy preferences. The site currently gives the Greens the lead in the Northampton North seat.
“More and more realise the Greens are the only party representing them,” Mr Clarke added.
The Liberal Democrats’ Northampton North candidate Angela Patterson dismissed the claim that Labour offer the best choice for women voters
She said: “We have got a really good record for women, we have helped a lot of parents who wanted to get back into work, and 40 per cent of two-year-olds receive free childcare.
“Our plans to raise the minimum wage and increase the tax threshold to more than £12,000 will benefit parents’ terrifically.”
UKIP has been contacted for a comment.