This article is from Alison's weekly column for the Wirral News. This is her post from 16th May, and it can be read on the Wirral News website here.
If you have been following the news in recent weeks, you have probably seen the deeply shocking story of the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls which occurred last month.
It is unimaginable that this could happen to these girls just for attending school. I know that people in Wirral will be horrified that this has happened, and all wish to see the safe return of the girls to their families.
Last weekend there was a vigil held in Liverpool where local people joined the likes of Michelle Obama in calling for the return of the school pupils.
I attended this vigil and it was encouraging to see many people united in solidarity for their safe return. The hope for a positive outcome is shared throughout the international community.
Boko Haram – an organisation which seems determined to stop girls going to school – has claimed responsibility, and its appalling actions expose the serious inequality there is when it comes to women accessing education in certain parts of the world.
The abductions have brought this issue into the international spotlight and, as a politician, I am very concerned about the plight that young girls face just to have access to something that in Britain we all have as an automatic entitlement.
This is wrong in itself, but also means the next generation being less educated, and less able to become our trading partners in the future. That’s not in our interests or anyone else’s.
Britain has a proud record of helping to educate children in the parts of the world that are worst off. But we should be absolutely clear that these acts are intolerable.
Showing our solidarity from Merseyside helps to go a small way to show our support, and keep global leaders focused on what they can do to help find the girls.
This is why I hope that the Department for International Development, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will look urgently at what more can be done as this atrocity is by far not an isolated incident.