Boris Johnson has been angrily rebuked by John Bercow for “sexist” behaviour towards Emily Thornberry.
Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, the foreign secretary referred to his Labour shadow as “Baroness whatever-it-is”.
Thornberry is married to High Court Judge Sir Christopher Nugee and is entitled to call herself Lady Nugee if she wants. But she does not.
Bercow told Johnson: “The shadow foreign secretary has a name. And it is not Lady something. We know what her name is. And it is inappropriate and frankly sexist to speak in those terms.”
To applause from some MPs, the Speaker told the foreign secretary “we do not address people by the titles of their spouses”.
“I am not having it in this chamber. That is the end of the matter. No matter how senior a member that parlance is not legitimate it will not be allowed and it will be called out,” Bercow added.
Johnson apologisd if he had been guilty of any “inadvertent sexism”.
“I heartily tender my apologies to the rt honourable lady opposite [Thornberry] if she was offended by what I said. I meant no harm and I apologise unreservedly if I have offended the feelings of the rt honourable lady.”
Bercow also told off Foreign Office minister Harriet Baldwin for defending Jonhnson as being a “passionate feminist without a sexist bone in his body”.
The Speaker told Baldwin: “The foreign secretary doesn’t need to be defended by her.
“I know she wouldn’t argue with the chair, she’d come of rather worse.”
Last year Thornberry complained to Bercow after Theresa May also called her “Lady Nugee” in the Commons.