Coventry MP hopes to follow in the footsteps of Lady Godiva

The 27-year-old MP for Coventry North West shared her ambitions and dedication to an agenda that is relevant to the lives of voters, in her maiden speech this week.

On Wednesday, the 27-year-old MP for Coventry North West, Taiwo Owatemi, gave a passionate maiden speech in the House of Commons.

First elected in December 2019, the Labour MP delivered her maiden speech during a debate on inequalities, setting our her values, upbringing and aspirations for Coventry, in a heartfelt speech.

The MP’s election was record-breaking in many ways, with her being the first female MP for Coventry North West, as well as the first MP of Nigerian heritage, specifically Yoruba, to represent a West Midlands constituency.

In the maiden speech, Miss Owatemi shared her ambitions for the city and her dedication to advancing an agenda that is relevant to the lives of voters.

Through this, the MP aims to win back the support that the Labour Party lost in the last election and build on her current base; having won her traditionally Labour seat by just 208 votes in the December general election.

The MP will campaign on primarily local issues, including the protection of green spaces and a change in legislation to require infrastructure alongside large housing projects; better opportunities for young people and support for children with special education needs; more neighbourhood policing; and an environmentally sustainable Gigafactory in Coventry.

On the topic of homelessness in the city, she explained: “Homelessness is becoming an increasing concern within our community and Coventry has the largest food bank in the country.

“Although this reflects the goodwill of the people of Coventry, it highlights this government’s failures. Failure to help cover the cost of living and failure to provide proper investment in local emergency support for vulnerable people in crisis.”

The MP was also appointed as a member of the Health and Social Care Select Committee this week, which scrutinises government policy. She said that she intends to use her experience as a senior cancer pharmacist to hold the government to account on local health provision.

In her maiden speech, she spoke about her personal passion for healthcare: “Having lost my father when I was aged seven, I became passionate about healthcare, about supporting the dedicated professionals who sacrifice so much for us for so little thanks.

“As a senior cancer pharmacist, every day I have seen our health service and adult social care system fail, under continual strain, without the resources they need.

“I will be working with my colleagues in Coventry to fight for an urgent care centre… so that we can have that better standard. That is something I will always fight for.”

Concluding her speech, the MP pledged to ensure every decision she makes is relevant to the lives of the people who elected her, saying: “I will spend my time in this House standing up for my constituents… for my patients… and for the public services on which we all depend. My community in Coventry expects no less and that is how I will serve them.”

Commenting following her speech, Taiwo said: “I’m glad I can now make more worthwhile contributions in Parliament and properly hold the government to account on the issues of health, social mobility and educational opportunities, and crucially proper neighbourhood policing. These issues come up a lot on the doorstep.

“Now I’ve hired staff to support my Coventry and Westminster offices, we can get on with the priorities that matter most to residents in my community.”

Just hours before her maiden speech, the MP questioned Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions, speaking about recent fatal stabbings in Coventry and concerns about the lack of police, noting she only has ten in her constituency and the need more community police officers.

The MP’s full maiden speech can be read on Hansard, the Parliamentary verbatim report of proceedings, found by clicking here, or watch online via parliamentlive.tv.