HARRIET Harman has denied Labour is “patronising” women by sending a bright pink bus on tour to encourage them to vote.
The deputy leader will spearhead the “woman-to-woman” campaign which aims to visit more than 70 constituencies in the run-up to the general election.
But Ms Harman was left defending the push at a briefing for journalists after questions were asked about the colour of the 16-seater minibus.
“We don’t want women to give up on politics. If you look at the figures, the disaffection that there is with politics is even more pronounced among women,” Ms Harman said, pointing to the 9.1 million women who failed to vote in the 2010 election.
“We want women to feel that this is their democracy and politics is for them as well as for men. Politics is too important to be left to be a men-only activity. We are saying this is a woman-to-woman activity.”
Ms Harman said that while Labour would be highlighting policies on issues such as childcare and domestic violence, David Cameron and the Conservatives had nothing to offer female voters.
She poured scorn on the Tories for having auctioned a shoe-shopping trip with Home Secretary Theresa May at the party’s fundraising Black and White Ball. She denied that the new campaign was “patronising” to women, saying the colour showed it was “different”.
“Is it not magenta or something?” she joked. “We wanted to mark that this was something different. We wanted it to look conspicuous and therefore a white van was not going to do the job.”
She added: “It is a very nice looking bus.... It is the correct colour. This is a One Nation Labour colour.”
Tory MP Caroline Dineage said: “The wheels have come off the Labour bus.
“Getting Harriet Harman to drive around the country in a pink van to try and attract the female vote is as patronising as it gets. This is clearly just another divisive gimmick that the electorate will see through”.
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