All-women emergency cabinet?

Caroline Lucas proposes a cabinet of women to stop no-deal Brexit

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Could an emergency all-women cabinet stop a no-deal Brexit?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Caroline Lucas has proposed an emergency all-women cabinet - with politicians from a range of parties - to thwart a no-deal Brexit.

The Green Party MP argues that women bring "a different perspective to crises".

However, others say it is a "selective sisterhood" that ignores the part that women played in the Brexit vote.

The Claim

Caroline Lucas has called for "a cabinet of women to stop a disastrous no-deal Brexit".

In an open letter to female politicians, including Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and MPs from different parties, she argues that we need an "emergency cabinet" of women to confront what's happening in the name of Brexit.

The letter, published in the Guardian, read: "Why women? Because I believe women have shown they can bring a different perspective to crises, are able to reach out to those they disagree with and cooperate to find solutions...

"So I have reached out to 10 women colleagues from across the political spectrum at Westminster and Holyrood – Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Independent Group for Change and independent – asking that we join together to stop the dangerous pursuit of a crash-out Brexit."

The Counterclaim

However, the Telegraph's Madeline Grant argues that the idea of an all-female cabinet "shows how desperate Remainers have become".

She says that it is "a selective sisterhood" chosen by Lucas, with all sharing the Green Party MP's "uncompromising belief that Brexit must be halted in its tracks".

Grant writes: "Lucas’s proposal is an extreme manifestation of a depressingly common narrative of Brexit as a “sexist” project, imposed on women by “grey men in suits”.

"Remain activists ignore the essential roles played by the likes of Gisela Stuart, Theresa Villiers and Kate Hoey during the referendum, and the female voters who turned out in their millions on June 23 2016."

She adds: "Other women who vote the “wrong” way, such as Tories, are regularly smeared as “gender traitors” or sinister Stepford Wives."

The Facts

In her open letter, Lucas invited shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, new Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon, Tory MP Justine Greening, and Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts to her all-female cabinet of national unity.

Other MPs invited are independent MP Heidi Allen, SNP's Kirsty Blackman, Labour's Yvette Cooper, Northern Irish independent Sylvia Hermon, and Change UK leader Anna Soubry.

The list did not include any senior black politicians, such as Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott. Lucas has since apologised for not including any BAME women in her proposal.

She said: "An all-white list of women isn’t right. I should have reached out further and thought more deeply about who, and what kind of politics, an all-white list represents. I apologise.

"There are women of colour colleagues who are standing up to this government’s reckless gamble with Britain’s future, and it was wrong to overlook them. I apologise to them and all who’ve been hurt by their exclusion."

Lucas is the only Green Party MP, representing Brighton Pavilion since 2010. She was the Green Party leader between 2008 and 2012, and co-leader with Jonathan Bartley between 2016 and 2018.

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