I am not a typical Tory woman, Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton tells Holyrood
“I am certainly not that person that some people might think is an image of a typical Tory woman,” Rachael Hamilton has told Holyrood in an exclusive interview for the Politically Speaking podcast.
In the interview, Hamilton talks about challenges in her own life and her desire to see more women, particularly with difficult life experiences, get into politics.
“I am born of a huge amount of experience,” says the MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and has also been a single parent with financial struggles.
“I have had health issues. I have been a single mother. I have been in the supermarket when I have not been able to pay for my shopping – and I am a proud person.
“And I have also been somebody who has got myself completely involved in the community.
“I suppose I’m quite opinionated, but I’m certainly not somebody who is of a certain type, and I would reject any suggestion that I was.”
Hamilton highlights that although she might sound well-spoken, she is from “a very ordinary working background” in the Welsh borders, where her parents have a farm.
Asked about the two-child cap on benefits, she hints that she disagrees with the policy.
She comments: “There are policies made that perhaps I don’t agree with, other people don’t agree with, but it’s important that our voices are absolutely heard.
“And I know what’s it’s like to be a single mother and I have huge empathy for people who are in that situation.”
She talks about the time when she stopped working to care for her two children alone as one the worst years of her life and says she will never forget the time she couldn’t pay for her shopping.
Not many people know about that, she says, but “being in politics has given me the confidence to speak up about things”.
Hamilton is involved in Women2Win, an initiative started by Ruth Davidson to get more women elected to parliament for the Conservatives.
Her motivation for becoming an MSP was to ensure that women had a voice in parliament, she says, and to make sure there were more women represented within the Conservative party in Scotland.
She is keen to see more women elected for the Conservatives next year, as well as more candidates from diverse backgrounds, noting that there is still a “huge amount of work” to do.
You can listen to the full podcast on the Politically Speaking podcast page from tomorrow.