Conservative MPs have accused Jeremy Corbyn of calling Theresa May a “stupid woman” after their final exchanges during prime minister’s questions.
The Labour leader appeared to mutter the insult after the prime minister ended her exchange with him by mocking his decision not to call a vote of confidence.
A number of Conservative MPs, including the Commons leader, Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative vice-chair, Paul Scully, and the former Tory chair Patrick McLoughlin raised the matter with May in the House of Commons, with McLoughlin asking the Speaker, John Bercow, to censure Corbyn.
The apparent insult came in response to May’s put-down after her final question from Corbyn. “I know it’s the Christmas season and the pantomime season. He’s going to put a confidence vote – oh yes he is, oh no he isn’t,” she said. “I’ve got some advice. Look behind you! They are not impressed and neither is the country.”
Bercow refused to intervene, saying he did not see the exchange, when he was challenged by McLoughlin, Leadsom and the backbencher Anna Soubry.
Leadsom also criticised the Speaker himself, saying he had not apologised for previously calling her a “stupid woman” himself. Bercow was reported to the standards watchdog over the alleged comments made in May.
A few minutes after Corbyn’s apparent comment, Scully raised the insult with the prime minister. “This year, when we’ve been celebrating 100 years of women getting the vote, do you think it’s appropriate language to call people a ‘stupid woman’ in this chamber?” he said.
May initially looked confused but then said: “Can I say to my honourable friend that I think that everybody in this house, particularly in this 100th year of women getting the vote, should be aiming to encourage women to come into this chamber, and to stand in this chamber and should therefore use appropriate language in this chamber when they are referring to female members.”
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