Theresa May seemingly called ‘stupid woman’ by opposition leader amid heated Brexit debate
Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn‘s remark was captured by cameras during the question-and-answer session in Parliament on Wednesday, and prompted outrage inside the House.
He had been asking the prime minister a series of questions on her decision to postpone a parliamentary vote on Brexit, the country’s plan to leave the European Union.
In response to one particular question, May slammed Corbyn, suggesting that he does not have the support of his own party.
WATCH: Jeremy Corbyn says he mouthed ‘stupid people’ not ‘stupid woman’ during Brexit debate
“I’ve got some advice for the Right Honourable Gentleman — look behind you. They are not impressed and neither is the country!” she said.
The remark prompted Corbyn to shake his head and mutter under his breath what appeared to be “stupid woman.”
Just after the exchange, Corbyn’s spokesperson denied that’s what he said. He said the opposition leader instead said, “stupid people,” and therefore would not make an apology.
“He did not call her a stupid woman, so I don’t think there are any grounds for an apology. As I understand it, he said ‘stupid people,'” the spokesperson said.
Corbyn himself later denied the remark, saying he is “opposed to the use of sexist and misogynist language in any form.”
Those inside the House at the time seemed to have heard “stupid woman” — a quip that prompted lawmakers to shout across the floor, demanding Commons Speaker John Bercow take action.
Bercow, however, said he didn’t see or hear the alleged remark and could not rule on it.
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The prime minister did respond, advising her opponent to use appropriate language that welcomes women into politics.
“I think that everybody in this house, particularly in this 100th anniversary of women getting the vote, should be aiming to encourage women to come into this Chamber … and should therefore use appropriate language,” she said.
British Minister of Women Victoria Atkins spoke to BBC News, saying the debate over whether Corbyn said “stupid woman” or “stupid people” in itself is concerning.
“Frankly, neither is very nice,” Atkins said.
“We should be able to have a workplace environment where that sort of language is not used.”
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The incident came as Britain’s Parliament attempts to end bullying, abuse and sexual harassment. Earlier this year a cross-party working group reported that one in five parliamentary workers had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in the previous year.
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— With files from Reuters, The Associated Press
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