Denise Welch backs Tabitha Morton in Liverpool
Metro Mayor race
ACTOR, author and mental health campaigner Denise Welch
has backed the Women's Equality Party's candidate for Liverpool Metro Mayor.
Denise has thrown her support behind Tabitha Morton, a founding member of the
party and a political newcomer who is now seeking to lead the Liverpool City
Denise will also be supporting the Women's Equality Party as it contests its
first ever General Election; the party plans to reveal which seats it will
target at the end of the week.
"I am thrilled that Denise has backed me for Metro Mayor and it's been a
pleasure spending time with her as part of my election campaign. Denise and I
were both late coming to politics: like many women I always thought politics was
something other people did, not something for a woman who grew up on a Council
estate in Liverpool. But I started paying attention to how things work, and what
needs to change: and I realised politics is for everyone. You have to be the
change you want to see." said Morton.
Denise explained that her decision to back Tabitha came after reading the
Women's Equality Party's manifesto document, which sets out the party's seven
core objectives. "I've always avoided political issues because I felt I
didn't know enough. I've watched grey haired men shouting; and snoring; in the
Houses of Parliament and like a lot of people I've got bored, disinterested, and
thought I can't be part of this. It's only with reading the WEP manifesto that I
thought, yes I am a feminist, yes I am political. I encourage diversity in very
many ways, and I feel very strongly that politics is for everyone."
Tabitha and Denise recorded a podcast during a recent campaign visit to
Netherton, the estate in Liverpool on which Tabitha was raised. They discussed
Tabitha's key campaign areas, which include a commitment to introducing a
region-wide strategy for ending violence against women and girls, and a costed
plan to introduce universal, affordable childcare for all children from the age
of 9 months.
Denise Welch:- "It's assumed women are the primary carers; and that women
want to be primary carers. If women want to be stay at home mums that's
fantastic, but we need to give women real options."
Tabitha Morton:- "You will never be able to do that unless you provide
realistic options for childcare. So as Metro Mayor I would commit to providing
universal, affordable childcare for all children from 9 months old across the
Liverpool City Region. This doesn't just affect women, it affects men as well.
It's holding families back. This is about political will; the Metro Mayor has a
huge amount of money to spend how she sees fit, and this Metro Mayor would see
fit to spend it on universal affordable childcare so that women can go to work."
On training and skills...
Tabitha Morton:- "I was 18 and applied for a job at a training scheme;
having no qualifications I thought this sounded like a good thing for me. I
wanted to explore the world. Until then I'd had jobs as a cleaner, working on a
market stall... a combination of what my parents expected me to do but also what
was expected of me because I was a young woman who had grown up on this estate
Denise Welch:- "It's amazing that you're standing here as the WEP
candidate for Liverpool Metro Mayor with that start in life. Opportunities were
thin on the ground; to turn that around and be the Tabitha that is stood here
today is quite incredible."
Tabitha Morton:- "That's why I am stood here. Being an outsider means you
fight harder, but it never leaves you. I still feel like the outsider, for
example at work in a male-dominated environment. The world is shaped by men and
we have to somehow fit into it."
On violence against women and girls...
Denise Welch:- "In the Liverpool City every 15 minutes a woman reports
domestic violence. I find that incredible. And yet there is nothing in place to
protect those women. Is that correct?"
Tabitha Morton:- "Yes it is. We have to have places for women to escape
to, but so many of these are closing because of a lack of funding, leaving
women; and children; trapped in dangerous situations. We've seen a cut in Child
Benefit payments this month too. We need services to support women fleeing
violence and we need inclusive sex and relationships education in schools so we
teach children what respectful, loving relationships look like."
On the media's impact on women and girls...
Denise Welch:- "There is a real misogyny in our media, especially in
women's magazines. One minute you're too thin, then the next you're too fat…
they're really not 'for' women, yet some of these magazines are bibles for young
girls. I really worry about this…"
Tabitha Morton:- "It's constantly bringing women back to how they look,
not who they are. You saw this earlier this month in the mainstream press, where
the UK's two most powerful women were reduced to body parts with the Daily
Mail"s 'Legs it' headline. You just can't imagine David Cameron and George
Osborne, for example, having been reduced to just their legs; it's not a
On men in feminism...
Denise Welch:- "Matty [her son, who is in the band The 1975] really is a
feminist, he is a voice for a generation, and when I told him I was coming to
Liverpool to interview Tabitha, WEP Metro Mayor candidate, you'd think I'd got
the lead role in a film with Al Pacino! Everyone has very busy lives but we can
all do our little bit to support WEP. I'll be doing as much as a I can to
support you, because I want to be your Mayoress!"
You can hear Tabitha and Denise's full conversation on WEP's podcast channel on