Rachel Reeves says being chancellor ‘smashing one of last glass ceilings’

Rachel Reeves has said that becoming Britain’s first female chancellor feels like “smashing one of the last glass ceilings in politics”.

Ms Reeves said the Government would rip up planning rules and build more homes and critical infrastructure as she gave her first major speech as head of the Treasury and one of the highest-ranking members of Sir Keir Starmer’s Cabinet.

During a visit to the Oval Village housing development in south-east London the same day, Ms Reeves told ITN: “The position of chancellor of the Exchequer has existed for hundreds of years, and a woman has never held that role.

“So I feel like I’m smashing one of the last glass ceilings in politics, and I’m really proud to do that.

“But along with it, comes a really big responsibility to pass on to our daughters and granddaughters a society and economy that works better for women, and I’m determined to work with my team to do just that.”

Rachel Reeves and Angela Rayner in hard hats and hi-vis tabards on a building site with two guides
Ms Reeves and Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner during their visit (Lucy North/PA)

When Parliament returns after the General Election, there will be more female MPs in the House of Commons than ever before.

A total of 263 women have been elected, up 43 from the previous record of 220 in 2019.

It means 40% of MPs in the new House of Commons will be female.

This is the sixth election in a row where the number of women MPs has increased.

Ms Reeves will deliver her first Budget in the autumn and has asked civil servants to draw up an assessment of the current state of the economy and public finances.

As chancellor, she will focus on economic growth and boosting private sector investment.