First female Wells MP Tessa Munt – ‘Don’t let anyone stand in your way’
PUBLISHED: 16:58 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:58 07 February 2018
The first – and, to date, only – female MP for Wells says she was forced to fight off adversity and defy stereotypes to lead a successful career in politics.
Liberal Democrat candidate Tessa Munt represented the Wells constituency from 2010 to 2014 and said she is ‘very proud’ of her achievement.
The former MP was inspired to run by her grandfather in a hope to ‘change the world’ and encourage other women and girls to follow in her footsteps.
She said: “For young women in the area it let them know it can be done and anything is possible if you set your mind to it.”
Mrs Munt told the Mercury she had to overcome a lot of hurdles to beat the dominant political stereotype of a ‘man in a grey suit’.
She added: “During my time as MP, you were constantly challenging people’s perception and challenging the traditional views and values.
“It showed people the job could be done in a different way and it is not all about being testosterone-filled.”
The first woman to be elected into the Parliament was Constance Markievicz in 1918, the same year women earned the right to vote, but Mrs Munt said women’s influence in politics extends beyond this.
She said: “Women would host soirés and salons as well as influence their husbands’ views but I think it is important our parliament reflects the country as 52 per cent of our population is female.
“It doesn’t just stop at parliament but it would be nice to see women represented fully at every level.”
Mrs Munt encouraged aspiring politicians to follow in her footsteps, but stressed the need and enjoy some life experience before running for public office.
She said: “Do something with your life and then when you are ready, go for it and do not let anyone stand in your way. If anyone ever has any doubts then I am a phone call away.”