A former Tory minister said she was told shortly after being appointed to the job that she only ‘got this job because of certain body parts’ she had.
Caroline Nokes, chair of the Women’s and Equalities Committee, said: “I remember being told when I was a brand new minister that I only got this job because of certain body parts that I had – and that’s what people were saying to my face.
“Who knows what they were saying behind my back.”
Ms Nokes, who was appointed deputy minister at the Department for Work and Pensions in 2016 by then Prime Minister Theresa May and later appointed immigration minister, did not identify the person who made these comments to him.
She told GB News that Westminster has a “demeaning and demeaning” culture towards women, who face “really outdated and frankly unpleasant attitudes”.
A series of instances of misogyny and sexual harassment in parliament have shed light on the behavior and opinions of male parliamentarians.
In the last election, several female MPs who resigned said the toxic environment and regular abuse they suffered was a factor in their decision.
And last month Tory men were accused of stoking sexism when they accused Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner of crossing and uncrossing her legs in the bedroom to distract Boris Johnson.
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Shortly after, it was discovered that another Tory had watched pornography in parliament. Neil Parish resigned after two female colleagues reported him to party whips.
Meanwhile, cabinet minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said an MP once pinned her against a wall, saying she had been hit inappropriately about half a dozen times. Women parliamentarians were still subject to “wandering hands” and other forms of abuse, she claimed.
Ms Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, is among party members calling for a shortlist of women in the future Tiverton and Honiton by-election to elect Mr Parish’s successor.
Advocating for ‘safe seats’ for female candidates when they are released in future, she said: ‘I think everyone in politics is pretty assertive. They are quite outspoken, they have strong opinions.
“What we see in Westminster, however, and what I have witnessed in the last 12 years since I have been an MP, is what I would describe as the deliberate devaluation and debasement of women parliamentarians, a culture that fosters a lack of respect.
“And we have to move away from the kind of male-dominated culture. I desperately want us to get to a position where we will see more women in parliament.
“I would like it to be 50-50, but it’s too long to get there and in the meantime, we still have to deal with really outdated and frankly unpleasant attitudes.
“And in the meantime, we still have to deal with some really outdated and downright nasty attitudes,” she said.
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