Westminster has ‘demeaning’ attitude towards women, says former minister

Westminster has a culture that is “belittling and demeaning” towards women, according to a former minister.

Senior Conservative Caroline Nokes said that when she was a “very new minister” she was told by an unnamed person that she had “only been given that job because of certain body parts” she had as a woman.

Ms Nokes was appointed a junior minister in the Department for Work and Pensions in 2016 by then prime minister Theresa May and was later made immigration minister.

The chairwoman of the Women and Equalities Committee told GB News: “I think anybody in politics is quite assertive. They’re quite outspoken, they hold strong views.

Neil Parish has quit as an MP after admitting watching pornography in the Commons
Neil Parish quit as an MP after admitting watching pornography in the Commons (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

“What we see in Westminster though, and what I’ve witnessed over the course of the last 12 years since I’ve been an MP, is what I would describe as the deliberate belittling and demeaning of women MPs, a culture which fosters a lack of respect.”

Her comments come after Neil Parish formally resigned as an MP after the veteran Tory admitted watching pornography in the Commons.

Ms Nokes is among those in the Conservative ranks to call for an all-women shortlist in the future Tiverton and Honiton by-election to elect Mr Parish’s successor.

Advocating for so-called “safe seats” for female candidates when they are vacated in future, she told the broadcaster it was time to “get away” from a “male-dominated culture” and that it was taking too long to achieve a gender-balanced Parliament.

“And in the meantime, we’re still having to contend with some really outdated and frankly unpleasant attitudes,” the Romsey and Southampton North MP said.