Yesterday Emily Thornberry accused Sky News presenter Dermot Murnaghan of sexism for asking her whether she knew who the French foreign minister was during a discussion about Brexit negotiations.
The shadow-foreign secretary refused to answer the question, which she likened to “pub quizzing”. She then suggested that Murnaghan wouldn’t have put the same question to a male politician.
If Murnaghan asked Thornberry about her favourite shade of lipstick, one would have understood the complaint. But the question was about the shadow foreign secretary’s work liaising with the French and Germans following the referendum. There is no apparent reason for thinking that Murnaghan would have avoided asking the question had the shadow foreign secretary been a man.
It’s fairly obvious that Ms Thornberry didn’t know the answer to the question. She would have done better to admit this, before moving on to explain her views on the Brexit negotiations.Viewers understand that politicians can’t always remember all the details. Many would have had been sympathetic.
Advice for Ms Thornberry
Thankfully, it seems one female politician is on hand with advice for Ms Thornberry. The leader of Scottish Labour, Ruth Davidson, tweeted the following:
“Plenty of genuine sexism & misogyny in politics. Don’t need prominent women debasing the term to cover their own poor performance.”
Perhaps Thornberry might take note?