Friday, 19 January 2018

Nusrat Ghani has become the first female Muslim minister to speak at the Commons despatch box


-The MP for Wealden hails an "important moment" as she becomes the first female Muslim  minister to speak at the despatch box.

-The MP for Wealden in East Sussex achieved the milestone as she answered transport questions.

-She was made parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Transport in Prime Minister  Theresa May's New Year reshuffle.

Speaking about the milestone, Ms Ghani said it was an "important moment".

"As many people know, this year is also a significant milestone in this country, as 2018 marks 100 years of votes for women," she said.

"I hope that today, young people can see that regardless of their background, heritage or faith, there will be a warm welcome on the green benches - and no matter where you are from, you can achieve your dreams and ambitions.

"I am thrilled to be a minister at the Department for Transport, which is working hard to encourage more diversity in the transport sector.

"I'm excited to meet head on the opportunities and challenges that this new role this will bring."

One of the issues raised during her time at the despatch box was a claim from a Labour MP that disabled people are being designed out of the rail service.

Eltham MP Clive Efford urged ministers to reverse plans which he said would mean disabled passengers using the Bexleyheath line in southeast London enduring more difficult journeys.

Ms Ghani replied: "He is absolutely right to raise this and it isn't acceptable but I believe it is going to be addressed later on down the line at Charing Cross."

She added: "All train operating companies have to comply with a disabled people's protection policy and if they are unable to they have to provide alternative transport, whether it is via an accessible taxi to the next station for the passenger to use.

"If he has a particular case I'm more than happy to follow that up."

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