Jo Swinson calls out Boris Johnson for using “girly swot” as an insult

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Hollie Richardson
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Jo Swinson

Girly swots of the UK, unite. Boris Johnson just tried to use “girly swot” as an insult against David Cameron, and Jo Swinson isn’t having it. 

To say that Boris Johnson has had a bad week would be an understatement. The Prime Minister is trying to call a snap election as MPs continue to push a bill that will stop a no-deal Brexit. He’s lost 22 Conservative Party MPs as a result of this, including Justine Greening and his own brother Jo Johnson. And, during a walkabout in Leeds on Friday, the PM was heckled on the street before being asked to “please leave my town” by a local man. 

Now, a private document written by Johnson has been leaked to Sky News

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According to the article, Sky obtained the full set of private cabinet papers that have been released in a court case on the prime minister’s decision to suspend parliament until mid-October. And, within the papers, Johnson called former prime minister David Cameron a “girly swot”. 

He wrote: “The whole September session is a rigmarole introduced by girly swot Cameron to show the public that MPs are earning their crust.”

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This isn’t the first time that Johnson has tried to use “girly swot” as an insult towards Cameron. He said it in an Evening Standard interview in 2013. And the news comes after Johnson called Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn a “great big girl’s blouse”

Please leave my town Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson said: “I have often said that talent and brilliance is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. I will make sure that women are supported to take up the opportunities that politics presents.”

Clearly, the PM thinks that being a smart female is some sort of weakness. That’s why women in politics have reacted to the comment on Twitter, calling out the blatant sexism. 

Liberal Democrat Party Leader Jo Swinson wrote: “First it was ‘big girl’s blouse’ and now it’s ‘girly swot’. Boris Johnson thinks being a woman is a weakness. He’s going to find out it isn’t.”

Labour MP Yvette Cooper added: “Good grief. The Prime Minister of Great Britain thinks he’s still back at Eton - ‘girly swat,’ ‘big girl’s blouse’ - what century is he in if the word ‘girl’ is one of his staple insults?

And Emily Thornberry tweeted: “In one week, 3 Commons defeats, 21 MPs purged, police cadets exploited as a backdrop, a Tory press officer walking round Parliament dressed as a chicken, and now the PM using ‘girly’ as a term of abuse. Macmillan must be turning in his grave at what is happening to his party.”

She continued: “There are more than 130 female swots on the Opposition benches who are going to give Boris a schooling over the next few months, first defeating him on No Deal, and then kicking him out of office at an election. #GirlySwotAndProud.”

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Perhaps, one day very soon, the PM will realise that being a “girly swot” is a great thing. They are also the future of politics in the UK.

Images: Getty


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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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