“Equal rights not petty fights”: WEP leader Sophie Walker is battling to replace sexist MP Philip Davies

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Hayley Spencer
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Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire, has gained notoriety for voting against policies promoting equality, including a bill designed to protect women against domestic violence. He also caused a social media backlash when he accused “militant feminists” of wanting “women to have their cake and eat it.” Despite this, he holds a seat on the Women and Equalities Committee, and has now called to remove the word “women” from its name.

In response, Sophie Walker, the leader of the Women’s Equality Party, has made it very clear that she intends to oust him from his seat, and will fight to replace him in the General Election 2017.

Walker, who was appointed as inaugural leader of the WEP in 2015, explained in a statement: “It is a national embarrassment that he sits on the Women and Equalities Committee.

“Philip Davies’s track record of misogyny should have no place in Parliament,” she added.

The former journalist has gained cross-party support from local Green Party and Liberal Democrat candidates, who The Guardian reports are considering standing aside to allow her to fight against Davies.

Walker told the publication: “Philip Davies basically is a sexist misogynist who puts his own ego ahead of his constituents. His anti-equality agenda in Westminster threatens the rights and freedoms not just of women but also people with disabilities, BAME [black, Asian, and minority ethnic] and LGBT+ communities.

Seemingly referencing the 78-minute speech which Davies gave in the House of Commons to block an anti-domestic violence bill last year, she added: “I think that Shipley deserves an MP who will prioritise representing them and the issues that are important to their constituency, rather than using parliament as a stage to play out attention-seeking performances.”

In response, Davies said: “I would very much welcome Ms Walker parachuting herself into Shipley as a candidate with her extreme politically correct agenda of positive discrimination and quotas, and am very happy to let the good people of the Shipley constituency decide who they want to represent them.”

Walker is raising funds here to fund her campaign so she can, in her words, be an MP for “equal rights not petty fights.”

Photos: Rex Features