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Oriel undergraduate Bella Simpson elected Young Labour Women’s Officer

Bella Simpson, an undergraduate studying Music at Oriel College, Oxford, has been elected the voice for young women in the Labour party. Her priorities as Young Labour Women’s Officer, she explains, are “tackling the epidemics of sexual harassment and assault and creating safe spaces for all women.”

Women in politics are targets of smear campaigns, misogynistic language and abuse. Simpson says this is one reason why she ran for the role: “All women must be represented, listened to and supported.”

To encourage women of all ages to get involved in politics, she intends to establish a youth branch of the Labour Women’s Network — “in effect a Young Labour women’s branch.”

Founded in 1988, the Labour Women’s Network campaigns for women’s equality within the party. Out of the candidates for the party who are women at the next general election, 61 per cent are graduates of the network’s programmes and workshops. Today, 47.5 per cent of Labour candidates are women.

But there is progress to be made.

After Simpson was elected, someone said to her on social media platform X, “Is she f***ing someone in the [Parliamentary Labour Party]?” She says misogyny like this is “why we need women realising our collective power and standing up against outdated, insulting beliefs.”

Growing up surrounded by socialist politics — “My nana was a fiery trade unionist and my granddad worked for the [Labour] party” — Simpson says she has been “fortunate to have strong socialist role models in my life.”

She is a “proud member of the LGBT+ community” and has said previously that she is dedicated to standing up “against transphobia and homophobia without exception.”

After starting her studies at Oriel College, Simpson joined the Oxford Labour Club, going on to serve as Chair and Campaign’s Officer.

In her new role, Simpson will work with the Labour party and fringe groups on decisions that directly impact young women.

She said in a statement after being elected: “I’m excited to announce that I have been elected to be Women’s Officer for Young Labour. Thank you to everyone who voted for me and supported me. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the role. Well done to all candidates”.