Corbyn accused of calling Theresa May a 'stupid woman' | Fin24
 
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Corbyn accused of calling Theresa May a 'stupid woman'

Dec 19 2018 22:09
Kitty Donaldson

Tory lawmakers reacted with fury at the end of Theresa May’s weekly question and answer session in Parliament after opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was accused of mouthing "stupid woman" at the prime minister.

Amid hectic scenes, Speaker John Bercow, his voice hoarse from trying to be heard over baying lawmakers, said he couldn’t judge the case because he hadn’t seen it. Tory lawmakers weren’t buying it. One after another Conservative members of Parliament jumped to their feet to protest against his ruling.

A few hours later Corbyn addressed the controversy in a short statement to the House of Commons. "I did not use the words ‘stupid woman’ about the prime minister or anyone else." He insisted that he’d in fact said "stupid people."

Twitter was awash with footage of Corbyn allegedly mouthing the slur as May took questions and, towards the end of her session, she was asked by a Tory lawmaker if such language was acceptable -- without Corbyn being named.

"Everybody in this house -- especially on this 100th anniversary of women getting the vote -- should be encouraging women to come into this chamber and should therefore use appropriate language," the prime minister said.

After she had sat down Patrick McLoughlin, a former minister, directly accused the Labour leader. But the most electric moment was when Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House, asked Bercow why it had been acceptable for him to use similar language about her in a separate incident earlier in the year.

Bercow, his face red, struggled to keep control and Tory lawmaker Anna Soubry accused him of bias. If it had been a Conservative lawmaker who had said the same he would have reprimanded them, while he hadn’t condemned Corbyn, she said.

"I cannot be expected to pronounce judgment on a particular individual when I wasn’t privy to the circumstances". Bercow replied to shouts from the Conservative benches. Soubry replied the image was all over the internet and offered to show the speaker the footage. Tory James Cleverly protested: "I saw him, sir."

The Conservatives are unhappy with what they view as Bercow’s pro-Labour bias, despite the fact he stood as a Tory MP, and he has had a long-running feud with Leadsom. Margaret Beckett, a Labour lawmaker, accused the Conservatives of "an orchestrated riot."

Bercow said he will rule on the matter when he has considered the video footage and summoned Corbyn to return to the house to hear his ruling if he is able to make one.

jeremy corbyn  |  theresa may  |  uk  |  brexit
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