Suella Braverman brands Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt ‘woke’ – and everyone’s confused

Penny Mordaunt criticises 'smears' against her Tory leadership campaign

As the process to whittle down the candidates for leader of the Conservative Party continues, the Tories are really demonstrating that they want to continue focussing on the people’s priorities – by arguing about whether any of the MPs standing are “woke”.

Woke ’ is defined as being “alert to injustice in society, especially racism”, which is a good thing. However, the right have appropriated the term as a pejorative, with attorney general Suella Braverman being the latest to use it.

Speaking to Times Radio after she was booted out of the leadership contest earlier this week, the Hampshire MP said: “My view of Penny is that she is woke, yes. I have no disrespect to her for her woke views, but I think we should call it out for what it is.”

It comes after Ms Mordaunt, a trade minister, clashed with rivals Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch over self-ID – the process by which a transgender person can legally transition without a medical diagnosis – during the first televised leadership debate on Friday.

Ms Mordaunt had previously penned a Twitter thread in which she answered the question “do I know what a woman is” by arguing trans women who have their gender legally recognised are not biological women, and that in her time working in the Government Equalities Office she “challenged the trans orthodoxy with real and genuine concern”.

Because this is obviously a kind, caring and considerate way to describe an oppressed, minority community, Penny. Good lord.

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Concluding the thread, she wrote: “Some want to damage my reputation for whatever reason. They want to depict me as ‘woke’.

“I was elected by the no-nonsense, down-to-earth people of Portsmouth North. It was a Labour seat. I’ve increased my vote share at each election.

“I refer you to their judgment.”

It seems such a thread was foreshadowing Ms Braverman’s remarks, which have raised eyebrows online and led many to ask journalists to challenge MPs on what exactly they mean by “woke”:

And so the fallout from the first televised leadership debate, which was held on Channel 4, goes on. At least we don’t have another major debate scheduled at 7pm on ITV on Sunday night, right?

Oh. Wait.

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