Journalist Petronella Wyatt left Channel 5 viewers outraged on Wednesday night after she claimed that women wearing short skirts in Westminster were sending out a “signal” to colleagues.
Her comments, made on the channel’s #MeToo: The Debate, came weeks after claims of sexual harassment rocked parliament.
Wyatt said that she has seen female researchers in Parliament “running around in micro-miniskirts getting paralytically drunk”.
When asked why it matters what these women are wearing, she retorted: “Because what kind of signal do you think that sends out?”
She added: “When I wear a micro-mini skirt it’s because I want to show off my figure.”
Wyatt, the former deputy editor of the Spectator, said that it was “unprofessional to turn up in the workplace looking as if you’re going to the beach”.
The televised debate was aired following the Channel 5 documentary Raped: My story.
Some condemned Wyatt’s comments, especially in the wake of programme, which included personal accounts of sexual assault.
Many pointed out how contentious her views were, with some calling her an “embarrassment” to her sex.
It is not the first time Wyatt has come under fire for her controversial views on sexual harassment.
Earlier this month she revealed she was “flattered” by men groping her when she worked in Westminster in the 1990s.
During a heated exchange on Radio 4′s Today programme, she said: “There were a couple of men that were a bit gropey. But do you know what? I was flattered.”
Sexual harassment has been in the limelight in recent weeks following a spate of allegations, not just in the political arena, but in Hollywood and other industries.
Among those accused of sexual harassment in Westminster was former defence minister Michael Fallon, who resigned from his post after admitting that his behaviour had “fallen short” in the past.