Sexist to joke about Abbott?

Brexit secretary David Davis makes remarks about the Hackney MP

Daily Express

It's not sexist to joke about Diane Abbott, says Ann Widdecombe

A professor of politics and gender at Bristol University wails on LBC radio that the remarks were sexist.

Yet if a woman had said she wouldn’t kiss a man for the same reason would that have been sexist? Of course not.

All week people have been making rude remarks about the Speaker’s height, or rather lack of it. Nobody calls that sexist. Nor does the professor complain when others remark on Ken Clarke’s roly-polyness or William Hague’s lack of hair.

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David Davis apologises for insulting Diane Abbott in texts following Brexit vote

The most unparliamentary language was used to berate David Davis following a remark he made in the House of Commons bar.

When the Brexit secretary approached Diane Abbott following the historic Brexit vote, where the Hackney MP voted in favour of triggering Article 50, she told him to "f... off".

He seemed to lean in and embrace Ms Abbott in the late-night encounter, but later said he thanked her for the vote.

The Shadow Home Secretary was absent for the second reading of the Brexit bill saying she had a migraine. It was speculated that she was considering voting against the Bill, defying her friend and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's three-line whip. She returned to the front bench during the third reading and voted in favour.

Later, Mr Davis exchanged a series of text messages with a Conservative colleague, making disparaging remarks about the Labour MP.

According to texts leaked to the Mail on Sunday, an acquaintance of Mr Davis said, "Cannot believe you made an attempt to give DA (Diane Abbott) a hug!"

The Brexit secretary replied: "Didn't, but the myth grows. I whispered in her ear 'Thanks for your vote' hence the 'F off'. I am not blind."

When his friend sent back, "Ha! Ha! Thank God you aren't blind. Great week for you and Brexit!", Mr Davis added: "Actually it would make a good Optical Express advert... Yes, a reasonable success."

It appears that he was confusing Optical Express with an advert for Specsavers, where people without glasses amusingly make embarrassing mistakes.

A spokesman for Mr Davis said: “This was a self-evidently jocular and private exchange with a friend.

"The Secretary of State is very sorry for any offence caused to Miss Abbott, someone he has known and respected for many years.”

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The Guardian

I fought racism and misogyny to become an MP. The fight is getting harder | Diane Abbott

The Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison once said, "If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. " And as a young woman the "book I wanted to read" was a narrative where a black woman could be a member of the UK parliament.

It was an extremely unlikely aspiration. After the 1983 general election, out of 650 members of parliament in total, there were no black, Asian or minority ethnic MPs - and only 23 women.

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