Tory former chancellor Ken Clarke has launched blistering assaults on most of the main contenders in the Conservative leadership race.
In apparently unguarded remarks broadcast by Sky News, Clarke described Home Secretary Theresa May as "a bloody difficult woman", said Justice Secretary Michael Gove would take the country to war on three fronts, Boris Johnson would make a "ridiculous" prime minister, and Leave campaigner Andrea Leadsom did not really believe in Brexit.
Speaking to the former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Clarke says: "Theresa's a bloody difficult woman, but you and I worked for Margaret Thatcher."
The senior Tory goes on to say: "I get on all right with her ... and she is good. She's been at the Home Office far too long, so I only know in detail what her views are on the Home Office.
"She doesn't know much about foreign affairs."
And so the hashtag #BloodyDifficultWoman was born as people shared their thoughts on the senior Tory's comments, with many claiming they were sexist.
while i don't agree with T.May's politics I think using phrase like #BloodyDifficultWoman as sexist way to demean is a bit cheap...
-- Dawn Carrington (@CarringtonDawn) July 5, 2016
Strong, independent and won't take sexism from men? What a terrible idea having those qualities in a Prime Minister!!!#BloodyDifficultWoman
-- Francine Gilmore (@famgilmore) July 5, 2016
I've been called 'difficult' for not always toeing the line. I think it's a way of diminishing womens' power & voices #bloodydifficultwoman
-- Becky Fincham (@beckyfincham) July 5, 2016
Others were proud to adopt the term themselves, declaring just why they were so bloody difficult themselves.
I along with other strong, articulate, independent women are proud to wear the badge #bloodydifficultwoman glad it makes mysoginist insecure
-- Yasmin Khan (@ykhan100) July 5, 2016
Hey Ken Clarke. I'm proud to be a #bloodydifficultwoman - as are many other strong, independent females, so your slur backfired somewhat.
-- claire potter design (@ClairePotter) July 5, 2016
While I've never been much of a Theresa May fan, as far as I'm concerned, being a #BloodyDifficultWoman is the only way to live.
-- Ronny Lavie (@RonnyLavie) July 5, 2016
thanks mum for making sure I'm outspoken, honest, assertive, passionate and driven... or you know, a #BloodyDifficultWoman haha!
-- Cassie (@iamcassmartin) July 5, 2016
I've been called 'difficult' many a time (usually for having an opinion) I've always taken it as a compliment #BloodyDifficultWoman
-- daydreamer mum (@daydreamer_mum) July 5, 2016
Some pointed out that men weren't branded with the same label...
-- RedSoc (@gifofred) July 5, 2016
Pretty sure I've been described as a #bloodydifficultwoman in my time. Take it as a compliment. No doubt qualities seen as positive in men.
-- Louise Taft (@Louise_Taft) July 5, 2016
And it wasn't just females speaking their minds on Clarke's comments, men were praising all the bloody difficult women in their lives.
All three incredible women.
-- Philip Green (@APootler) July 5, 2016