Plymouth MP reveals how she saved husband's life
A PLYMOUTH MP has revealed how she used her life-saving skills to stop her future husband from choking to death.
Trained lifeguard Alison Seabeck carried out the Heimlich manoeuvre – an emergency technique used to clear a person's airway – after Labour MP Nick Raynsford, who she worked for at the time, "slumped" and turned blue during a dinner at a party conference in Brighton.
Ms Seabeck, who married her fellow Labour politician and long-term partner last month, highlighted the incident as one of a number of occasions when she had employed her first-aid training.
The MP for Plymouth Moor View was backing calls at Westminster for children to be taught life-saving skills at school.
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During a backbench debate, Ms Seabeck also described how she had gone to the assistance of a woman who had collapsed in the street, and another time helped a man who got into difficulties during a train journey.
In all these instances, she found other members of the public had not known what to do.
"It is people's lack of knowledge which stops them doing even the basic checks," Ms Seabeck said.
Highlighting the emergency at a conference involving Mr Raynsford, she said: "One of the guests started choking, slumped and started to go blue.
"So it was a Heimlich manoeuvre. I have to say it was my boss, so it was probably just as well I did it, not least because he is alive and I have now just married him; but that is another story.
"But again, the comments came back, 'Thank heavens. We didn't know what to do.'
"The basic skills are so simple and so easy to teach, and once you have them you almost automatically go into support mode, as I did in the hotel in Brighton.
"I admit that afterwards I was shaking a bit, but nonetheless you just do it, because that is what you have been trained to do."
Ms Seabeck added: "Children are like sponges. They soak up information, and if they can see a practical use for it, they will learn even more quickly.
"Knowing basic techniques, such as being able to administer support when someone is having a cardiac arrest, is absolutely vital.
" I do think we need to move towards ensuring these skills are taught as a matter of course in our schools.
"Most important of all, lives will be saved.
"Children and young people are very capable of using these skills, and that is the time to teach them."
Responding to the debate, Education Minister Liz Truss said teachers should decide on whether to teach first aid.
"My point is that teachers want to do this," she said.
"We are giving them space in the curriculum to allow them to do this.
"I think that will result in a very positive outcome but I think it is better to win hearts and minds and allow freedom of judgment.
"The best way of doing this is to give teachers the freedom and discretion to follow their own natural instincts.
"We have already seen 86 per cent of teachers want to do this.
"Let's allow them to get on with it."
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