26/10/2018 12:29 BST | Updated 26/10/2018 16:40 BST

Bake Off's Sophie Faldo Accuses Explorer Anthony Middleton Of Mansplaining In Row About Women Serving In SAS

She claimed he was trying to “patronise” and “discredit” her.

Reigning ‘Great British Bake Off’ champion Sophie Faldo has called out explorer Anthony Middleton after he said “didn’t see any benefits” of having women in the SAS.

The extreme adventurer, who is a regular on ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’, was reacting to this week’s news that women will now be able to work in any part of the armed forces, having previously not been able to enrol in all front-line military roles. 

Sophie Faldo and Ant Middleton

“I don’t see ANY benefits or advantages that women will bring being in the SAS or SBS,” he tweeted. “All I see is exceptions and special allowances which will only weaken a force!”

His comments prompted Sophie, who is ex forces herself, to enter into a strongly-worded Twitter exchange with him, where she explained to him why he is wrong. 

“Sorry @antmiddleton but I utterly disagree,” she wrote. “If you can’t see ANY advantages then you’re being very narrow-minded or you clearly haven’t worked with some of the women I have!

“No one wants the capability or lethality of the Regt to be compromised and there is no reason it should.”

By way of a response, he argued: “How can you possibly comment in a world that you know absolutely NOTHING about (no woman does)! I like to think I know the advantages and disadvantages in a world that I grew up in and was willing to lay down my life for! This isn’t a game of ‘anything you can do, we can do’

“Please do not think that the Army is the Special Forces because it’s a totally different organisation... Baffles me how non Special Forces individuals seem to know what’s best for an organisation they know NOTHING about or have ever been part of!”

Accusing him of “mansplaining” she replied: ”....but a man who has never served alongside women, you know all there is to know about it? I really don’t see what the problem is? If a woman passes selection, you’d give her a stand up fail just because she had a vagina?”

As the argument rumbled on, Anthony claimed Sophie was “embarrassing herself”, saying: “Where are you getting this information from?!? The discussion isn’t about woman in the military, its about a political exercise that has no upside for my former organisation which you know nothing about.”

She also said Anthony was trying to “patronise” and “discredit” her as they argued over selection requirements for different regiments. 

However, things appeared to end on a friendly note, with Sophie joking Anthony was a “dinosaur”, adding: “I hope you can understand why I’m so passionate about this too. Take care.”

Sophie appeared on ‘The Great British Bake Off’ in 2017, and has remained largely out of the spotlight since triumphing in the final. 

In a recent interview with HuffPost UK, she said her military background had made it difficult to cope with the attention the show brought her. 

“I’m not as active on social media as some of the other [winners] are but I think that’s probably a military thing where we’ve always been told to keep a low profile,” she said. “So it’s been a real learning curve to put my life out there.”

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