Women MPs 'Face Sexist Gestures' In The Commons

Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham
Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham

Tory MPs have been accused of making sexist gestures to female opponents while they are speaking in the House of Commons.

Labour MP Sarah Champion said some Conservatives were responsible for "utterly appalling" attempts to degrade women during debates.

She claimed it was an "insidious" part of the culture in Westminster which was overlooked.

The Rotherham MP told BBC Radio Sheffield: "Some Tories are very good at gesticulating about females' assets."

Asked by presenter Rony Robinson whether she was referring to hand gestures and remarks about her "bum and breasts" she said: "Yes ... I think it is utterly appalling, it's deliberately trying to degrade people, it's sexist and people ought to be pulled for it."

She said it was "awful" and "really bad" but was unaware if Labour MPs did the same to female Tory MPs.

She said: "I don't know because I'm on the bench looking forward, but the Tories definitely do it to Labour women."

Ms Champion said she had to "pretty much ignore it" because responding would mean "you end up in a slagging match which I don't think is helpful".

She said she had not informed Speaker John Bercow about her concerns: "This is the problem, it's so insidious, it's so part of the culture there ... it's overlooked rather than ignored, I would say."

Asked how she would react if her colleagues were acting in a similar way she said: "I would be utterly, utterly appalled and I would go and say something if I saw one of my Labour colleagues doing it."

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