Esther McVey has revealed she isn't fussed about the Daily Mail's fashion critique of the new "girls" on the Downing Street "catwalk," even though the paper's own Business Correspondent branded the coverage "unspeakably awful and demeaning."
The tabloid has faced fierce criticism over its "heinously sexist" coverage, in which Catherine Ostler gave her "style verdict" on the new appointments, including McVey.
READ MORE: 'Heinously Sexist' Daily Mail Travels Back To 1950s With 'Thigh-Flashing' Reshuffle Coverage
But McVey was careful not to criticise the paper in the wake of the backlash on Wednesday.
She told the BBC: "Oh, you know what, it highlights all those wonderful women."
Celebrating the coverage of female politicians, she also told Sky News: "All I can say is it's fantastic having women in powerful positions."
In its much-criticised two-page spread, the Mail critically examined the new Employment Minister's "don't mess with me" lipstick and "turbo-charged hair", along with Environment Secretary Liz Truss's "patriotic" red, white and blue ensemble and Claire Perry's wedges and "statement necklace".
The Daily Mail political cat walk, what they really mean. pic.twitter.com/iUGIC3ievV— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) July 16, 2014
Green MP Caroline Lucas claiming it was an "all time low", saying she wanted to know what women running country think, not what they're wearing.
But Ms McVey, who was on a visit to Brompton Bicycles with the Prime Minister, said: "I think it's great news that people are talking about powerful women walking up in to Downing Street.
"You've got some great women there now, secretaries of state, new people who've just come in to Parliament.
"Whether that's (Education Secretary) Nicky Morgan, Liz Truss, or whether it's me staying in what I consider to be most important department, that is getting people in to work.
"So, you know what? If it takes a photo of some women getting a new job to start a whole generation of new young girls talking about what jobs I can do then that's fine by me."
Asked whether the Prime Minister was concerned about the media's focus on the outfits and appearance of his new female ministers, David Cameron's official spokesman said: "Judgments for what goes into newspapers and other media channels is for those newspapers and media channels."
The Mail's Quentin Letts defended his paper's coverage on Sky News Wednesday, arguing with Eleanor Mills, the Editorial Director of The Sunday Times, who branded the reporting "retrogressive for women."
Letts insisted that the Cabinet reshuffle "focused very strongly on image over ideology… image was very much the driver," he said.
The columnist even resorted to playground name-calling in the fierce debate with The Sunday Times reporter, asking Mills, "remind me how the Sunday Times' circulation is doing again?"
But Becky Barrow - who is departing the Mail to go to the Sunday Times - slammed her own paper's coverage:
One thing that I will not miss about working for the Mail: unspeakably awful and demeaning spreads about women. pic.twitter.com/DqIS86kYDm— Becky Barrow (@beckymbarrow) July 16, 2014
McVey was the main focus of the vacuous analysis, with the Mail practically salivating over the politician's "thigh-high slit skirt."
The Liverpudlian former TV star was the most pictured politician in the papers Wednesday, despite Nicky Morgan and Liz Truss being handed more prominent positions in the reshuffle.
Many have criticised image being prioritised over policy by certain media outlets.
Just interviewed @EstherMcVeyMP. I can reveal that her Downing St skirt was from Whistles 8 yrs ago, top Warehouse, NOT Westwood!— Bob Constantine (@BobConstantine) July 16, 2014
Former deputy prime minister John Prescott and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg speculated what the result would be if the same style of coverage was given to male politicians:
What I wore to the office today. Fingers crossed the Mail approves. Hope I don't look too '80s cabin attendant'. pic.twitter.com/bVy7wCkfrG— Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) July 16, 2014
Many others responded with fury to the "belittling" style of reporting, branding it "everyday sexism" and accusing the paper of setting "female politics back years":
Mail's catty misogyny re women MPs is revolting but nothing new. Would be more tweet-worthy if they'd focused on their politics instead.— Chris Wills (@crispeater) July 16, 2014
Oh FFS Mail! MT SkintLondon: 'The Downing St Catwalk' because hey, that's what a street is when women walk down it! pic.twitter.com/XsNzYApVBq— Vicki Kelsall (@vickikelsall) July 16, 2014
In honour of the Mail's article on women MPs outfits...I'm in a Next grey, striped shirt, jeans from Debenhams and Kermit the Frog socks.— Chris Hubbard (@hubbardcj) July 16, 2014
Mail has uncanny knack of capturing attitude to women politicians.
Forget their politics I want to know hemlines & accessories (said no one)— Julie Minns (@kenningtonkitty) July 16, 2014
The Daily Mail really is a farce, Tory reshuffle brings women into cabinet & Mail leads with what they're wearing!! Is it still the 1950s?— Brian Cruyff (@BarrySpex) July 16, 2014
Why don't women go into politics? Because in 2014 editors of Daily Mail still think their primary contribution to public life is cosmetic— Lucie Shuker (@lucieshuker) July 16, 2014
Considering the demographic of the Mail, others queried why its readership is predominantly female.
@FelicityMorse The Mail: for women who hate women— Jack Seale (@jackseale) July 16, 2014
Can someone explain to me why so many women read the Daily Mail? pic.twitter.com/L7OCoT5FQI— James Randerson (@james_randerson) July 16, 2014