A would-be Lib Dem MP faces claims of sexism after calling a female political opponent who defeated him “little more than barbie doll”.
Jonathan Wallace, the party’s parliamentary candidate for Blaydon, has apologised to Kim McGuinness, who was elected to the post of Northumbria police and crime commissioner.
The 55-year-old repeatedly made the derogatory insult in a video he filmed whilst driving and later uploaded to YouTube.
Dismissing his fellow candidates as “lightweights at best”, he said Labour politician MicGuinness was “little more than barbie doll reading from a script”.
“We now have a new police commissioner, Kim McGuinness, barbie doll as she is dubbed by many,” he added.
It comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the Westminster sex harassment scandal highlighted widespread sexism.
Last year, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson joined with Labour MPs and called for misogyny to be treated as a hate crime.
“Most women have experienced harassment in their daily lives, and it’s about saying this is not acceptable, this is not OK,” Swinson said last year.
Responding to the emergence of the clip, McGuinness told HuffPost UK: “No woman should have to put up with sexist language like this when putting themselves forward for a senior elected role but sadly it’s common place and something too many of us have to put up with. This is why, time and time again, women don’t want to put themselves forward for election.”
Andrew Bazeley, policy and insight manager for the Fawcett Society, said Wallace had behaved badly.
He said: “Sexist sour grapes when you’ve failed to get elected are not a good look in the twenty-first century. We need more women like Kim McGuinness in public life, and less 1970s grumbling from people who find progress hard to stomach.”
Wallace has now apologised.
He told HuffPost UK said: “I apologise for the comments I made and the offence I have caused. I won’t repeat similar comments in the future”.