Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Apparently women “should be pleased” by male MPs' misogyny

parliament.jpg

Earlier this week, a female political journalist revealed that she had reported a male MP for addressing her as “totty”. 

Isabel Hardman, who is assistant editor at conservative magazine The Spectator, tweeted that she had been unsure about whether to go public with the story after the unnamed MP told her, “I want to talk to the totty” in the Westminster lobby. 

“Have been thinking about whether or not to tweet about it, but actually that is NOT on and lobby women shouldn't have to put up with it,” she wrote on the social networking site. “So I have passed the MP's name on to a whip. I don't betray sources. But I will betray sexists.” 

Later, she posted another tweet saying that the MP had been reprimanded and was "v. contrite” [sic].

Hardman tweets

Isabel Hardman's tweets.

But according to the Daily Mail's associate politics editor, Hardman “should have been pleased” at the attention. Isabel Oakeshott wrote that she thought Hardman was wrong to complain to whips over a “trivial incident”. Oakeshott is also the co-author of the David Cameron biography in which it was alleged that the PM once put a "private part of his anatomy” into a dead pig's mouth, 

She added that the relationship between MPs and political journalists would be undermined if journalists went public with MPs' “off the record" remarks, and appeared to suggest that female journalists could use their gender to their advantage, writing: “If a handful of male MPs are a little more forthcoming because we wear skirts, who are we to complain?”

Oakeshott

The Daily Mail's Isabel Oakeshott said that Isabel Hardman should have taken the MP's comments as a compliment.

Like politics itself, political journalism is overwhelmingly dominated by men. Less than a quarter of MPs in the House of Commons are women; similarly, data obtained by The Guardian in 2013 revealed that only 23 per cent of parliamentary lobby journalists are women.

And plenty of female journalists have similar stories to Hardman's. Earlier this week, radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer said that a Tory MP repeatedly placed his hand on her knee at an event when she was political editor at the Sunday Express.

She told Sky News: “The third time I removed his hand and said it is very simple, either you don't put your hand on my knee again or I am going to punch you in the face.” She added that there were “quite a lot of grey areas” regarding appropriate behaviour in the House of Commons. 

Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman said that Hardman had “done exactly the right thing” in reporting the MP. She wrote on the Channel 4 website: “So many of us have been forced to put up with sexism in Westminster – the lascivious texts from a well-known peer; the ‘noble Lord’ whose hand found its way to my bottom in a crowded bar; and the select committee chairman who assumed I was a secretary because I was the only woman in the room.

“I never complained about any of it when I was working in the lobby five years ago. But I wish I had. It reflects badly on me that I didn’t.”

Pictures: iStock, Rex Features

Related

dwlm.jpg

Why IS Louise Minchin still in the 'inferior' seat?

HiRes.jpg

Should we stay in the European Union?

12592352_10153826035400406_1399462900220296826_n.jpg

Woman's message on how we dress and sexual harassment goes viral

david-cameron-uk-prime-minister.jpg

David Cameron on a day in the work life of a Prime Minister

ThinkstockPhotos-187401190.jpg

“Attractive women are more likely to succeed” A debate on body image

509328920.jpg

“Fewer women should be allowed to train as doctors” says academic

vote.jpg

Why feminists should vote ‘remain’ in the EU referendum

Diane-abbott-david-bailey.jpg

Labour MP Diane Abbott on the politics of hair

310_tablet_womens_equality_LEAD_v1.jpg

Just who are the Women’s Equality Party and what do they stand for?

Comments

More

Kate Middleton opens up about motherhood and mental illness

“Your fundamental identity changes overnight.”

by Moya Crockett
24 Mar 2017

Oklahoma lawmaker says rape and incest are ‘the will of God’

Republican was defending a controversial anti-abortion bill

by Georgina Wilkinson
24 Mar 2017

The trailer for Emilia Clarke’s new horror film is utterly terrifying

Even Daenerys might have trouble with this one

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017

Emma Thompson reveals Donald Trump once asked her out on a date

Just imagine: Emma Thompson, First Lady of the United States

by Moya Crockett
24 Mar 2017

Kate Winslet recalls being called 'blubber' by school bullies

The Oscar winner had the last laugh

23 Mar 2017

Ryan Gosling explains his reaction to the Oscars Best Picture blunder

He could barely stifle his giggle - but it's not what you think...

by Hayley Spencer
23 Mar 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From January Jones' beauty regime to Emma Roberts' book club

by Nicola Colyer
23 Mar 2017

Brie Larson is playing a very important figure in feminist history

Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president, was a fascinating character.

by Moya Crockett
23 Mar 2017

Piers Morgan is finally quitting social media

If only it was forever

by Amy Swales
22 Mar 2017

Louis Theroux on the one documentary he had to abandon

“I would still love to do it. The world’s my oyster.”

by Georgina Wilkinson
22 Mar 2017