Friday, September 08, 2017

Sit down, shut up

Wednesday brought (unwanted) evidence that attempts to intimidate female MPs into silence don't only take place on social media - and that the perpetrators aren't always anonymous members of the public. When she stood and began asking Theresa May about the Tories' promised childcare provisions during Prime Minister's Questions, Layla Moran - the newly elected MP for my old constituency in Oxfordshire - found herself jeered by Tory MPs in the opposing benches, to the point that she stopped and covered her mouth in anxiety and embarrassment. Speaker John Bercow came to her rescue, but defended the Shadow Secretary of State for Education's right to speak in the most patronising terms, as a "highly articulate lady".

I don't suppose we should be surprised by the incident, given the nature of the question and the fact that those culpable are monied male oafs who can't understand why parents don't just employ nannies, but it's nevertheless shameful conduct in a place that supposedly enshrines the values of equality and democracy in 2017. Credit to the Independent for subsequently giving her a platform to air her view uninhibited by jeering boors.

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