02 November 2023

Cummings’ comments risk putting women off politics, warns Cabinet minister

02 November 2023

The “misogyny” on display in Dominic Cummings’ WhatsApp messages risks putting women off entering politics, a Cabinet minister has warned.

Michelle Donelan said she is “deeply concerned” and does not “condone misogyny” and that kind of behaviour “in any workplace”, let alone No 10.

Mr Cummings, former chief adviser to Boris Johnson, apologised to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry for his language, including a WhatsApp message describing senior official Helen MacNamara as a “c***”.

Science Secretary Ms Donelan, who was an education minister at the height of the pandemic, said she has not personally experienced misogynistic behaviour.

But she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I think I am concerned about some of the revelations and the comments that are coming out here, because my biggest concern is that other women will be watching and hearing that rhetoric and deciding that maybe politics isn’t for them.”

She added: ”I don’t condone misogyny in any workplace. It makes me deeply concerned or angry, if you like, around rhetoric that is not appropriate, especially as we are meant to lead by example.”

She said “we should be encouraging Parliament and the ministerial team to be as diverse as possible” and that is what Rishi Sunak has done as Prime Minister..

“What we want to make sure is that the next generation of politicians that come forward equally represent different parts of society and we’re not putting people off from politics, because that would be to the detriment of democracy.

“So I am concerned about the countless women that will be hearing this and I’m reading these comments.”

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