Nicola Sturgeon claims sexism in politics is 'getting worse' and puts women off standing for election

Nicola Sturgeon has claimed sexism in politics is “getting worse” following a series of scandals over MPs behaviour.

The First Minister suggested things were so bad it was putting women off standing for election.

She was speaking following the resignation of Tory MP Neil Parish for twice watching pornography in the Commons.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Appearing on Sky News, Ms Sturgeon said: "It's a massive problem and it's not getting better yet. In fact, in some ways it is getting worse.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said politics in Scotland was getting worseFirst Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said politics in Scotland was getting worse
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said politics in Scotland was getting worse

"I think social media has made it worse. I am very conscious of the impact that has on younger women."

Confronted over the allegations of sexual misconduct in Westminster, including those against SNP MP Patrick Grady, the First Minister said she didn’t know the status of the investigation.

Mr Grady, the SNP MP for Glasgow North, stood aside as whip a year ago after being accused of groping two male researchers at a 2016 Christmas party.

It is believed complaints were made to the new Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme and then upheld.

Ms Sturgeon said of the investigation: "The process is underway. I have not seen any findings and I'm not trying to dodge this, it is important that the process is allowed to proceed.

"What I will say is I think parties cannot simply throw stones when it is people in other parties who are being found guilty of these kind of things.

"We all need to apply these standards to ourselves and I will not shy away from that."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
'It has never happened to me': Nicola Sturgeon on 'accidental' porn viewing

It came as Anum Qaisar, who was elected SNP MP for Airdrie and Shotts in May last year, revealed she was told by opposition MPs which men to avoid in Parliament.

She explained that a former Conservative minister approached her at a parliamentary event after noticing she was uncomfortable with a male politician being “too cavalier”.

Ms Qaisar said: “Despite the fact we have this horrific, toxic culture in Westminster, it’s women looking after women.

“Since I joined Parliament, I’ve been taken aside by female MPs to warn me about some male MPs who say ‘actually, Anum, you’re probably better off staying away from X, Y and Z’.

“In my situation, I was at a parliamentary event and a certain male MP made a beeline for me.

“It was actually a Conservative MP – a former minister – who took me aside and said ‘look, it seems like you feel uncomfortable. Do you want to stay with me? You’re probably best just to stay away from that person’."

Tory Party chair Oliver Dowden has said half of the party’s MP candidates should be women by the next election.

He said: “I think the single best thing I can do as chairman of the Conservative Party is make sure that we select more good female members of Parliament, so that the membership of the [parliamentary] Conservative Party reflects the wider country.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Elsewhere, Dame Andrea Leadsom is now working with Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to implement an overhaul of working practises in Government.

Writing in the Observer, Sir Lindsay said: "In my opinion, it is time to consider radical action, and review structures and processes that could make a difference. Some serious allegations have been made and we must address them as a matter of urgency."

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.