Pressed by Iain Dale last night, Harriet Harman was adamant that she stuck by her accusations of sexism levelled against Gordon Brown:
“I think it is unlikely that if one of the men had won [the Labour deputy leadership] instead of me, that they would not have been made Deputy Prime Minister.”
That’s not what she used to say. When Caroline Flint resigned in 2009, accusing the former Prime Mentalist of treating her like “female window-dressing”, Hattie insisted that allegations of sexism against Gordon were unfounded:
“I can understand the frustration of any woman in politics but it’s not true to say that Gordon Brown doesn’t take women in politics seriously.”
So, was she telling the truth then, or now?
Harriet Harman has launched a bitter attack on the former Prime Mentalist, using a speech hosted by John Bercow this evening to accuse Gordon of sexism:
[gigya src=”https://abfiles.s3.amazonaws.com/swf/default_player_10.swf” style=”background-color:transparent; display:block; box-shadow:0 0 1px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.15); min-width:349px; max-width:700px;” flashvars=”image_option=none&imgURL=&link_color=steelblue&mp3Author=lbc&mp3Duration=262177.0&mp3LinkURL=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboo.fm%2Fboos%2F2311296-harriet-harman-on-sexism-in-the-commons&mp3Time=04.53pm+08+Jul+2014&mp3Title=Harriet+Harman+on+Sexism+In+The+Commons&mp3URL=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboo.fm%2Fboos%2F2311296-harriet-harman-on-sexism-in-the-commons.mp3%3Fsource%3Dwordpress&player_theme=light&rootID=boo_player_1&show_title=true&waveimgURL=https%3A%2F%2Fd15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net%2Fi%2Fw%2F798578″ width=”480″ height=”150″ allowFullScreen=”true” wmode=”transparent”]
“Imagine my surprise when having won a hard-fought election to succeed John Prescott as deputy leader of the Labour Party, I discovered that I was not to succeed him as Deputy Prime Minister!” she is expected to say. If one of the men had won the deputy leadership would that have happened? Would they have put up with it? I doubt it. And imagine the consternation in my office when we discovered that my involvement in the London G20 summit was inclusion at the no10 dinner for the G20 leader’s wives.”
Harman’s broadside has invoked the wrath of Damian McBride, who hits back: “Have you no sense of decency, Harriet?” McBride blogs that Brown had other ways of discriminating against people other than their gender – “Gordon divides the world into only two categories: useless and not useless” – going on to snipe:
“Harriet seems to think she should have been invited to the leaders dinner instead, or perhaps to the meetings of the G20. To which I’d respectfully ask….erm, why? What on earth would Harriet have contributed to the meetings and dinner where Gordon, Obama, Sarkozy and Merkel were hammering out the global financial stimulus to bring the world out of recession? I mean seriously, what? But if she thinks she was excluded from those discussions because of her gender, Harriet needs to remind herself that Gordon’s key advisor throughout those meetings was Baroness Shriti Vadera. Why? Because she was the world expert on what needed to happen. With all due respect, Harriet was not.”
Safe to say Hattie didn’t take that too well. Here is her riposte on LBC just now:
[gigya src=”https://abfiles.s3.amazonaws.com/swf/default_player_10.swf” style=”background-color:transparent; display:block; box-shadow:0 0 1px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.15); min-width:349px; max-width:700px;” flashvars=”image_option=none&imgURL=&link_color=steelblue&mp3Author=LBC&mp3Duration=31832.0&mp3LinkURL=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboo.fm%2Fboos%2F2311246-harman-on-damian-mcbride-he-was-sacked-for-denigrating-women-and-he-s-doing-it-again-now&mp3Time=04.30pm+08+Jul+2014&mp3Title=Harman+on+Damian+McBride%3A+%27He+was+sacked+for+denigrating+women+and+he%27s+doing+it+again+now%21%27&mp3URL=https%3A%2F%2Faudioboo.fm%2Fboos%2F2311246-harman-on-damian-mcbride-he-was-sacked-for-denigrating-women-and-he-s-doing-it-again-now.mp3%3Fsource%3Dwordpress&player_theme=light&rootID=boo_player_1&show_title=true&waveimgURL=https%3A%2F%2Fd15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net%2Fi%2Fw%2F798488″ width=”480″ height=”150″ allowFullScreen=”true” wmode=”transparent”]
“Damian McBride, you’ll remember, was sacked from being in the employment of the government for denigrating women, and he’s doing it again right now. It’s why he got fired, he’s learnt no lessons, he’s doing it again. When we have to listen to Damian McBride’s views on women, we really are in trouble.”
Calm down, dears!
Following the news that Nicolas Sarkozy has this morning been formally charged with corruption and influence peddling, will Ed Miliband be raising questions about a criminal brought into the heart of Downing Street by a former Labour Prime Minister? He was doomed…
Gordon Brown is at the Guardian’s offices this morning, where he was asked if he had a “sneaking admiration” for Alex Salmond. The Prime Mentalist replied:
“He’s won an election, which is more than I did”
The curse of Jonah strikes again…
Why is Gordon looking so glum at his speech on Scotland to the LSE this evening?
Perhaps all these empty seats have something to do with it:
Tsk tsk, students. Some people would pay a lot of money to hear the Prime Mentalist speak…
UPDATE: Gordon has told the audience that he believes the bedroom ‘tax’ is “completely unacceptable”. If only he had some power as an MP to express his opinion – Gordon failed to turn up for the vote…