Westminster has a ‘degrading’ attitude towards women, says former minister


A Conservative former minister has revealed that shortly after her appointment she was told she was “only given this job because of certain body parts” she had.

Caroline NokeChair of the Women’s and Equal Opportunities Committee, said: “I can remember being told when I was a brand new minister that I only got this job because of certain body parts I have – and that’s what people said to me Face.

“Who knows what they said behind my back.”

Ms Nokes was appointed junior minister at the Department for Works and Pensions in 2016 until then Prime Minister Theresia May and later appointed Minister for Immigration, has not identified the person who made the comments to her.

She told GB News Westminster had a culture that is “degrading and demeaning” toward women.

A series of examples of misogyny and sexual harassment in parliament in recent weeks have revealed a pattern of sexism and demeaning attitudes among MPs, critics say.

At the last election, several female MPs who resigned said the toxic environment and regular abuse they faced was a factor in their decision.

And last month Tories men were accused of fomenting sexism by accusing Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner of crossing and uncrossing her legs in the chamber to distract Boris Johnson.

Soon after, another Conservative was found to have seen pornography in Parliament. Neil Parish quit after two colleagues reported him to party whips.

Ms. Nokes is one of those in the party ranks who are calling for an all-female shortlist in the future Tiverton and Honiton by-election to choose Mr. Parish’s successor.

She advocated “safe seats” for female candidates if they become vacant in the future, saying: “I think everyone in politics is pretty confident. They’re pretty blunt, they have strong views.

Neil Parish resigned from MP after admitting to having seen pornography in the House of Commons (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

(PA Media)

“However, what we are seeing in Westminster, and what I have witnessed over the course of the last 12 years since I have been an MP, I would describe as the deliberate disparagement and degradation of women MPs, a culture that encourages a lack of respect.

“And we have to get away from this male-dominated culture. I really want us to get to the point where we see more women in Parliament.

“I’d love it if it was 50-50 but it’s taking too long to get there and in the meantime we’re still grappling with some really dated and frankly awkward settings.

“And in the meantime we’re still grappling with some really outdated and frankly awkward attitudes,” said the Romsey and Southampton North MP. Westminster has a ‘degrading’ attitude towards women, says former minister

Bobby Allyn

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