Austin Mitchell caused a stir (not for the first time) this weekend, with an article in the Mail on Sunday. In it, Mitchell suggested that a more female Parliament would be “preoccupied with the local rather than the international (not necessarily a bad thing) and small problems rather than big ideas and issues”.
Understandably, Mitchell’s comments received plenty of criticism, and now a spokesperson for the Labour leader has weighed in on the row, branding his comments “ridiculous and wrong”. Here’s the response in full:
“Austin Mitchell’s views do not represent the Labour Party. All women shortlists have ensured Labour is the party with the highest representation of women of the main parties in Parliament.
We are proud that in our target battleground seats for the general election just over half those candidates selected so far are women. In a week in which the Fawcett Society published figures showing how the government has let women down, with high unemployment, hundreds of thousands of women in low paid jobs and on zero hours contracts and many more women than men paid less than the minimum wage it is right that Labour stands to ensure women’s voices are heard in the national debate.
The suggestion that women in politics are less inclined to discuss big issues is ridiculous and wrong.”