'Stop Putting Words In My Mouth': Kemi Badenoch Clashes With Tory MP

The equalities minister accused Caroline Nokes of talking over her the "entire time".

Kemi Badenoch has accused a fellow Tory MP of “putting words in my mouth” during a spiky exchange.

The equalities minister clashed with Caroline Nokes at a meeting of the Commons women and equalities committee on Wednesday.

During the hearing, Badenoch also told a Labour MP she was making points about the menopause from a “left-wing perspective”.

Chairman of the committee Nokes asked Badenoch about 14 FTSE 100 companies voluntarily reporting their ethnicity pay gap.

Badenoch, who is also business secretary, said she believed reporting should be voluntary and suggested that some initiatives on the issue were “junk”.

Nokes said: “Right so you haven’t looked at any of this but you want to make sure if it’s being done...”

Badenoch interrupted: “I’d really appreciate it if you stopped putting words in my mouth. I need to be able to speak and say things without...”

Nokes hit back: “Could you please let me ask the question without you talking over me?”

Badenoch told her: “Please don’t put words in my mouth.”

Nokes went on: “I just wanted to clarify that you haven’t looked at any of these specifics, you’re not going to look at any of them but when the government does it they are going to make sure it’s done properly.”

In a separate part of the meeting Badenoch clashed with Labour MP Carolyn Harris who has been campaigning for better support for women experiencing symptoms of the menopause.

Badenoch dismissed suggestions that the menopause should be given a special legally protected status.

She told MPs that creating a “new special characteristic” for the menopause under the Equality Act list would be a “complete misunderstanding of what protected characteristics are”.

“The menopause can be dealt with, alongside three existing ones: age, sex, and disability, because it is a health condition and many disabilities are health conditions,” Badenoch said.

Harris, who appeared annoyed by her response, told the minister: “I think your commitment to women has been displayed quite adequately this afternoon.”

But Badenoch shot back: “We are free to have disagreements on how to deal with the menopause, but that in and of itself is not a display of my commitment to women. I think women know exactly how committed I am to women’s rights.”

During an exchange over whether the menopause was a disability, Badenoch also told Nokes: “Will you let me answer the question or are you just going to talk over me the entire time?”


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