Sophie Walker has announced she will stand against “national embarrassment” Philip Davies in the General Election.
Walker, a journalist who became the Women’s Equality party leader in 2015, announced on Sunday that she would be standing against the Tory MP, and outspoken male rights advocate, in the West Yorkshire seat of Shipley.
Walker told the Guardian: “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.
“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.”
The newspaper said the Green party had told Walker it may stand aside in Shipley, although the idea had yet to be approved. It said the Liberal Democrats were also considering the concept.
Walker said Davies had a “track record of misogyny”, including trying to derail laws protecting women against domestic violence, and that she wanted to become a “voice for all women” in Westminster.
Davies, who was elected to the Commons equality and women’s committee last year, also once told a conference hosted by an anti-feminism party that “feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it”.
The MP, who won the Shipley seat with a majority of more than 9,624 at the last election, has welcomed Walker “parachuting herself” into the seat with a “politically correct agenda”, the BBC reported.
In announcing her candidacy, Walker said of Davies: “Shipley deserves an MP that will represent the needs and interests of all its constituents, instead of one who spends constituency time on a self-indulgent anti-women campaign.”
Walker continued: “Right now if you live in Shipley, your MP is best known in Parliament as a sexist whose favourite pastime is inventing long speeches to prevent other MPs from passing important legislation such as the provision of free hospital parking for carers and compulsory sex and relationships education in schools.”
Walker, in her statement, also took aim at the Conservatives record on equality issues and claimed public spending cuts had disproportionately affected women, something Brexit would make even worse.
She would campaign for a fair immigration system after Brexit, more support for women’s pensions and for social justice to be put at the heart of a “caring economy”.
“Philip Davies’ party’s austerity policies hit women harder than men and pushed more women into poverty. His party’s funding cuts shut vital services to survivors of violence, when two women a week die at the hands of abusive partners,” Walker said.
Walker’s announcement was warmly received on social media where commenters said they “couldn’t wait to see” her in Parliament and in a jibe no doubt directed as Davies, comedian Cally Beaton wrote, “feminist zealots bite back”.