THE UK’s longest continuously serving woman MP has praised Holyrood for “blazing a trail” as she helped female MSPs launch a women’s caucus.

Labour’s Harriet Harman, who has been an MP since 1982, joined Scottish politicians in Edinburgh earlier this week to create the cross-party assembly.

It will focus on issues such as the barriers facing women entering Parliament and politics in general, the impact of social media, and developing a family-friendly institution.

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Harman (above), who was dubbed the “Mother of the House of Commons” by then prime minister Theresa May in 2017, was invited to speak at the first women’s caucus event by Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, who chairs the Scottish Parliament’s gender sensitive advisory group.

A report by the advisory group had recommended the women’s caucus to create a forum for women to discuss “issues of mutual interest and provide a support network”.

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Speaking after the caucus, Johnstone (below) said: “I was thrilled that Ms Harman was able to be the first guest speaker at our caucus.

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“During the caucus, women MSP were able to hear Ms Harman’s inspirational account of representation and participation in politics.

“Establishing this caucus was one of the recommendations in our gender sensitive audit report, so I’m delighted we could start with such a well-known and highly regarded speaker.”

Harman said: “The Scottish Parliament is blazing a trail. I’m full of admiration for the pioneering leadership of the Presiding Officer in setting up this women’s caucus.

“With 46% of MSPs, and being cross-party, this will be the most powerful group in the Scottish Parliament.

“This will drive rapid progress for women in Scotland. Westminster should follow in the steps of our sisters in Holyrood.”