11 female MPs who prove Austin Mitchell wrong

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Monday 18 August 2014 14:30

Labour MP Austin Mitchell took to the Mail on Sunday yesterday to decry the rise of women in the Labour party, writing that they were making parliament weaker.

The 79-year-old said "feminisation" and "youthification" will make the party "more manageable and reasonable, for apart from obsessive feminism, women MPs are more amenable and leadable and less objectionable."

Not only are his comments incredibly sexist, they also couldn't be more wrong. Just look at some of the female MPs in parliament today, who are unamenable in all the right ways:

1. Diane Abbott (Labour)

A series of rebellions against Tony Blair and Gordon Brown saw Ms Abbott brandished a firebrand and a "left-wing maverick". She said stood for Labour leadership election in 2010 because she believed at least one of the candidates should not be white and male.

2. Theresa May (Conservative)

Earlier this year, the Home Secretary "shocked" members of the Police Federation, accusing them of showing "contempt for the public" in their handling of sensitive cases such as the Hillsborough inquiry and the murder of Stephen Lawrence. As she stripped the federation of its public funding, Ms May told members "I am here to tell you it is time to face up to reality."

3. Lynne Featherstone (Liberal Democrat)

A fierce critic of the Sun's Page 3, as equalities minister Ms Featherstone introduced laws to allow positive discrimination to address female under-representation in the workforce.

4. Harriet Harman (Labour)

The former minister for woman and equality and temporary leader of the opposition after Gordon Brown's resignation, Ms Harman has been campaigning on almost every prominent feminist issue since the 1970s. Notably, she once enraged Fathers 4 Justice campaigners so much they staged a protest on the roof of her house.

5. Caroline Lucas (Green)

The sole MP for the Green Party, noted campaigner for the environment, localisation and animal rights. She was arrested at a protest against oil firm Cuadrilla last year.

6. Jo Swinson (Lib Dem)

A vocal critic of the government's decision to go to war in Iraq, and the delay in releasing the results of the subsequent inquiry. She recently took maternity leave to give birth to son Andrew, the first baby to ever be carried through the voting lobby at the House of Commons.

7. Stella Creasy (Labour)

Ms Creasy has actively campaigned for increased regulation of payday loan companies, and her campaigning is thought to have contributed to the government's decision to cap the cost of payday loans last year.

8. Tracey Crouch (Conservative)

Ms Crouch is qualified football coach and has been openly critical of FA rules that banned her from playing for the parliamentary football team. She is also one of only two Tory MPs to abstain from the vote to raise university tuition fees and defied the party whip to vote against the badger cull.

9. Margot James (Conservative)

The first openly gay female MP in the Conservative party, selected to run for election in the Labour-held seat of Stourbridge and won with a 6.9 per cent swing. This year Ms James said she didn't "mind too much" being labelled for her sexuality: "I was able to sway some people in the debate on gay marriage, and I wouldn't have been able to do that had I not been a gay woman and had I not lived through the Seventies and Eighties and known what it was like.

10. Anna Soubry (Conservative)

Destined to be on this list after telling The Andrew Marr Show last year that Nigel Farage looked "like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it."

11. Gloria De Piero (Labour)

After learning a news agency was offering to sell the press topless photographs of her as a 15-year-old, Ms De Piero was praised for her dignified response and her "refusal to be cowed by this quasi-sexual or moralistic assault on her behaviour".

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