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Durham MP accuses Tories of "barracking northern women" in Commons

MP Pat Glass speaking at an event earlier this year Credit: http://www.patglassmp.org.uk/

The Labour MP for Durham North West has accused Tories of orchestrating abuse during Commons debates against northern female counterparts because of their accents.

Pat Glass said it was not just older Tories who were guilty of barracking Labour women, and blamed the macho Westminster culture.

In an interview with the Sunday Sun newspaper, she said new South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck was also singled out "because of her Sarah Millican-style accent".

Mrs Glass also said:

"The hardest thing I found going into Parliament was the culture.

"If I had gone to an all boys public school I would have fitted in, but I didn't.

"What I found is if a woman gets to speak, particularly women with an accent, then there is orchestrated barracking.

"You don't get to see it on television because the camera is fixed on the person who is speaking and not on the orchestrated response.

"I get the impression they think women who are northerners should not be there."

In one debate Mrs Glass broke off from speaking to highlight the problem, and the Deputy Speaker Dawn Primarolo intervened.

She feared the atmosphere was putting off women from playing an active role in politics - but that nothing will change until more women become MPs.

MPs react to new database to share medical records

On this week's Around The House, we debate a new scheme to share medical records kept by GP surgeries.

The information will be collected in a huge database and could eventually be shared with researchers and drug companies.

The NHS says data will be coded to protect confidentiality. Opponents say that cannot be guaranteed.

The North East MPs Iain Wright and Ian Swales joined the Carlisle member John Stevenson to consider the issues:

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Around The House: women in politics

How can all parties encourage more women into politics? Almost a hundred years since the first women were elected to the House of Commons, they still make up less than a quarter of the total number of MPs.

This week the Prime Minister was accused by the Labour leader of 'failing women', by not promoting more to senior roles in government.

The Sunderland Central MP Labour Julie Elliott has been debating the issue of women in politics at an event in Newcastle.

She discussed those challenges with Helen Ford, for this month's edition of Around The House:

The state of state education

The Education Secretary Michael Gove wants to reduce the gulf between schools in the state and private sectors.

In a speech this week, he called on state schools to model themselves on independent lines.

The Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, Redcar's Ian Swales and Carlisle member John Stevenson debated the issue for this week's Around The House.

The conversation began with a reminder of what Mr Gove had said:

Around The House: ITV tonight at 11:40pm

Topical discussion with the region's MPs Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

On tonight's Around The House, MPs debate proposals to share medical records across the NHS and beyond.

The Hartlepool Labour MP Iain Wright, Redcar Liberal Democrat Ian Swales and the Carlisle Conservative member John Stevenson also consider plans to model state schools on the private sector.

Plus, how do we encourage more women into politics? We hear the thoughts of the Sunderland MP Julie Elliott.

Join Helen Ford and guests at 11:40pm tonight (Thursday 6th February) on ITV Tyne Tees.

Lobbying for the North East: MPs to hold regular meetings with Government

For many years, the North East was at the heart of government.

That is no longer the case and many Labour MPs have been left asking how they can lobby more effectively for the region.

Now, the Cities Minister Greg Clark has agreed to hold regular meetings with the region's MPs.

What difference will they make? The Newcastle East Labour MP Nick Brown spoke to Helen Ford in this month's edition of Around The House.

Watch the full interview here - including reaction from Conservative MP James Wharton.

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"You need a thick skin": the debate on women in politics

How can we encourage more women into politics? It is a subject being debated at an event in Newcastle this evening.

Among those taking part is the Sunderland Labour MP Julie Elliott.

She told Helen Ford about the challenges facing those considering a career in politics:

You can watch the full interview with Julie Elliott on Around The House tonight (Thursday 6th February) at 11:40pm on ITV.

MPs concerned over database to share health records

On tonight's edition of Around The House, two North East MPs express concerns about data privacy, with the launch in the next few weeks of a new database for NHS patient records.

All households are receiving leaflets from NHS England about the new database. Patients will have to opt out, if they are unhappy about their details being taken from their GP surgery's records.

Initially, the information will be shared within the NHS, but could eventually be passed to researchers, charities and drug companies.

NHS England says the data will be coded to protect patient confidentiality. But Hartlepool MP Iain Wright and Redcar MP Ian Swales both told Helen Ford that people need more information:

Watch the full debate on Around The House tonight at 11.40pm.

Around The House: Tonight at 11.40pm

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Around The House at 11.40pm on ITV Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

On tonight's programme from Westminster, Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott joins Helen Ford to discuss women in politics.

Also in the programme, North East MPs Ian Swales and Iain Wright consider the plans for our medical records to be shared on a database, due to be launched in the next few weeks.

Watch Around The House tonight (Thursday 6 February) at 11.40pm.

Reshuffle sees Hodgson take women and equalities role

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson has been asked by Labour leader Ed Miliband to take on a role as a spokesperson on women, families and equality issues.

Mrs Hodgson is moving from her previous role as Shadow Children and Families Minister, which she has held since October 2010.

Mrs Hodgson said: “I’m determined to use this new role to stand up for those women, as well as for the many other groups, including the LGBT community, on whose issues I’ll be working.”

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