As I stepped out of Milton Keynes Central there was a whiff of nostalgia in the air. I couldn’t help but think of the many great women that had taken the same journey before me, many of whom are sitting in Parliament today (Layla Moran, Jo Swinson, Christine Jardine and Wera Hobhouse!). I considered this an achievement in itself, to be a part of such a prestigious course and continue its legacy.
The weekend allowed me to learn about the process of becoming an MP and confirmed my ambition to be an MP. As it was explained, there have been women whom have decided after the two day course that being an MP wasn’t right for them. In my view, this was an integral part of the weekend because as much as it was about learning the process, equally it was about discovering yourself and your ambitions within the Party. Whether you wanted to become an MP or preferred to be a trainer and help others become MPs this was the weekend for you.
The course covered all the stages of becoming an MP from the selection process which involves filling in your application form, assessment days and running your selection campaign to the election process and how to run an effective election campaign. What I learnt was that the selection process is essentially a pitch to the membership, and much more about the individual themselves. What makes you unique? Why should you be chosen as the candidate to represent the Party?
Whereas the election process focuses on what you believe in and what you would do for your constituents. However, many essential skills such as the importance of composition in your photos, strong leadership, team work and an active digital campaign are applicable in both the selection and election campaigns.
It was also a great opportunity to meet women from all over the UK at different stages in their political careers. There were councillors, women who had already filled in their forms, and then women like myself, who’s only experience had been during the local elections as a council candidate and was at the very early stages of their career. I learnt a great deal from these women and am grateful for the insightful conversations we had, taking on board the constructive advice they have given me.
There’s only one thing left to say, to all my fellow women, make sure to apply for the next Future Women MPs Weekend because not only will you learn a great amount from the course but you will meet some inspiring women on the way. This could be the start of a great career in politics.
Tara Hussain is a Masters student of International Relations and Diplomacy at SOAS, Vice Chair of Campaigns at English Young Liberals, and stood for election to Council in Tower Hamlets in 2018. You can find her on Twitter here.