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BBC journalist Steph McGovern has apologised for calling out Boris Johnson’s sexist remark

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Hollie Richardson
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Steph McGovern BBC

BBC Breakfast host Steph McGovern has apologised on Twitter after calling out Boris Johnson’s “girly swot” remark. 

Last week, we reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson called David Cameron a “girly swot” in an attempt to insult him. It was of course a failed attempt because, as we all know, girly swots are what make the world go round. What made the sexist comment even more infuriating was that it came shortly after the PM called Jeremy Corbyn a “great big girl’s blouse”. You’d think that, following the recent backlash he has faced in the streets of the UK, Johnson would consider his words a bit more thoughtfully. But, then again, this is the same politician who has all too often remained silent on important issues affecting women when talking policies. Oh, and he’s completely left the domestic abuse bill to slide thanks to the Brexit chaos. 

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So it’s perhaps unsurprising that when news of Johnson’s “girly swot” comments were published, people had plenty to say about it. 

MPs Jess Phillips, Jo Swinson and Emily Thornberry were just a few to call out the comment. 

And BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern made a “light-hearted” remark about it on Friday (13 September), which she has now felt the need to apologise for. But why?

Business journalist McGovern, who often hosts the morning show, is currently on maternity leave. She hosted the Convention of the North in Rotherham where Johnson was speaking on Friday. After encouraging the crowd to applaud the PM, she said: “I’d just like to point out I am a girly swot and I’m proud of it. Let’s see who’s in the job the longest.”

She then later tweeted: “At a non BBC event I was hosting today, I made a light-hearted remark after the prime minister’s speech. Sorry that this caused offence to some. That was absolutely not my intention.”

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As part of her role at the BBC, it is thought that McGovern needs to remain politically objective in her work. But her comment came as part of an external project not related to the BBC. 

Her apology has caused a discussion on Twitter, with many people offering support and saying that she should not have to apologise at all.  

The presenter has also faced negative backlash from people who say that the comment shows political bias. 

But ultimately, McGovern was using a bit of inoffensive humour to stand up for smart women who were slighted by our PM’s sexist remark. 

Because we really shouldn’t have to take that in 2019.

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