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Muirfield Golf Club's 'No Women' Policy Should Be Banned, Says Harriet Harman

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HARRIET HARMAN
Men-only sports clubs are in the spotlight after Harriet Harman called for them to be banned | PA

Sports clubs that ban women from joining should be be made illegal, Harriet Harman has said.

On Friday Conservative culture secretary Maria Miller announced she was boycotting the golf Open Championship over host Muirfield's refusal to admit female members.

And Harman, Labour's deputy leader, said: "After the recent successes of female sport it's an embarrassment that this year's British Open, a world class sporting event, is being held at a club which does not admit women members.

"It's time that Muirfield dragged itself into the 21st century and let women in. It's time to ban men-only sport clubs."

And speaking in the Commons on Thursday, Labour MP Diana Johnson attacked the "bigoted bunker mentality make the British Open less than open and less than British".

Andrew Lansley, the leader of the Commons, said he agreed and that Muirfield's ban on female members was "entirely reprehensible".

Nick Clegg has condemned Muirfield's male only membership policy as the championship got under way at the historic golf club.

The deputy prime minister described the ban on female members as "inexplicable" and "anachronistic" but said it was not for politicians to decide where the Open was staged.

On his LBC 97.3 phone-in show, Clegg said: "I was just dismayed and incredibly surprised to hear this still goes on in this day and age.

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"I find it so out of step with everything else that's happening in the rest of society. It just seems so old fashioned and so anachronistic to just have a golf club saying that just because you are a woman you can't be a member of that club.

"I think many people will just shake their head and say 'how on earth is this still possible in this day and age?'."

He added: "I'm dismayed the club does not accept women as members. I find that inexplicable in this day and age, I really do."

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