Dominic Raab criticised after admitting he is ‘probably not’ a feminist – after the Tory leadership challenger once described some of them as ‘obnoxious bigots’
- Ex-Brexit secretary said he was a ‘champion of equality and meritocracy’
- Brexiteer said: ‘We should call hypocrisy out in political debate and political life’
- He also weighed in to the debate over transgender children
- Told ITV: ‘I certainly don’t think I want to make it easier’ for them to change sex
Tory leadership hopeful Dominic Raab has risked the wrath of women’s groups by admitting he is ‘probably not’ a feminist.
The former Brexit secretary, who is campaigning on a hardline Leave ticket, described himself instead as a ‘champion of equality and meritocracy’.
He made the remarks as he was grilled by ITV over comments he made in 2011 in which he said some feminists were ‘obnoxious bigots’.
The Esher and Walton MP told the broadcaster’s Acting Prime Minister podcast: ‘The point I was making is that sexism is wrong and it’s wrong if it’s said about a woman or about a man and I think equality is too precious a value for us to put up with double standards.
‘I do think we should call hypocrisy out in political debate and political life.’
Asked whether he would describe himself as a feminist he said: ‘No, probably not.
‘But I would describe myself as someone who’s a champion of equality and meritocracy.’
It prompted Sajid Javid’s campaign team to tweet a picture of 1980s TV icon Morph, who the Tory leadership hopeful jokes he looks like, with the words: ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ in an attack on Mr Raab.
And Sky News presenter Kay Burley also got in on the act, tweeting: ‘Mate … Definition: the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.’
Mr Raab also weighed in to the debate over transgender children, saying ‘I certainly don’t think I want to make it easier’ for them to change sex.
Mr Raab said he was ‘probably not’ a feminist but was instead a ‘champion of equality and meritocracy’
Sajid Javid’s campaign team tweeted a picture of 1980s TV icon Morph, who the Tory leadership hopeful jokes he looks like, with the words: ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ in an attack on Mr Raab
He highlighted his relationship with his wife Erika, saying they were a ‘two salary couple, I support her as much as she supports me’.
‘I’m all for working women making the very best of their potential and that’s something that’s really important to me,’ he added.
Entering the hotly contested debate over gender reassignment in children, Mr Raab added: ‘I certainly don’t think I want to make it easier.
‘I think we need to be very careful with young people at that age.
‘I want everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin but I do worry a little bit, with some of this debate, whether it’s in relation to vulnerable women in prisons or children in schools that we don’t just take a very careful balanced approach
‘Because we need ot be a society which is small L liberal, tolerant and open and warm to the LGBT community, but I also worry about the vulnerability of other people, whether it’s women in prisons or children at a very tender age in schools.
‘So we need to get the balance right.’
His comments came as fellow Brexiteer Esther McVey, another of the 11 Tories who are so far running to replace Theresa May, fell out with the party’s first gay female cabinet minister and Amber Rudd after she backed parents who want to pull their children out of lessons about same-sex relationships.
Justine Greening confronted the Tory leadership hopeful on Twitter as she faced a backlash over her stance on LGBT classes in schools.
When asked about teaching of same-sex relationships in school Ms McVey said today: ‘I believe parents know best for their children. While they’re still children – and we’re talking primary school [age] – the parents need to have the final say on what they want their children to know’.
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