Tory MP says she was forced to use newspaper when she couldn't afford tampons as a teenager

A Tory MP has revealed she used toilet paper or newspaper instead of tampons as a teenager because her family couldn’t afford sanitary products.

Amanda Solloway, the Conservative MP for Derby North, spoke about the “embarrassment and shame” she felt when she had to “improvise” after raising the issue of period poverty at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

The Government has introduced a scheme to allow schools and colleges to order free sanitary products for pupils.

Ms Solloway told MPs: “You may have noticed that it’s been a long time since I was a teenager.

“My memory has faded over the years, yet I still remember the embarrassment and shame that I felt each month when I had my period.

“We couldn’t afford sanitary products and I was forced to use toilet paper or, when we didn’t have that, newspaper.”

Britain Athletics - London Marathon Previews - London - 18/4/17 MP Amanda Solloway poses in her running kit on College Green outside the Houses of Parliament ahead of the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic
Tory MP Amanda Solloway revealed she was forced to use to toilet paper or newspaper instead of tampons (Picture: Reuters)

Ms Solloway added: “Would the Prime Minister agree with me and acknowledge the work of Amika George, the founder of the Free Periods campaign group, that means no young woman of school age in this country should ever have to feel the shame I felt and remember all those years ago?”

Responding, Boris Johnson said: “I congratulate my honourable friend on the campaign that she is waging on this issue and I’m delighted to tell her that free period products are to be made available to all schools and colleges in England so that we can ensure that no young person’s education is disrupted by their period.


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“I’d like to pay particular tribute to the work of Amika George, who has done so much to bring about change.

“And I just remind the House that of course it’s when we get Brexit done, which we will, which they would still block, that we will be able to cut VAT on sanitary products and make period products cheaper for everybody in the country.”