Philip Hammond blasted for telling female MP not to be ‘hysterical’

Written by David Singleton on 28 February 2017 in Diary

Watch: Mary Creagh said her question had ‘nothing to do with the condition of my womb travelling to my head’

Philip Hammond sparked an angry backlash in the House of Commons after he urged a female Labour MP not to be "hysterical" in her warnings over Brexit.

The chancellor, nicknamed ‘Spreadsheet Phil’, found himself at the centre of a sexism row after he addressed Mary Creagh during Treasury Questions.

Responding to her query about firms taking precautionary measures ahead of Brexit, he had said: "I would urge her not to be hysterical about these things."

The word hysterical is derived from the Greek for womb and the pejorative term is usually directed towards women.

Using a Point of Order, Creagh accused Hammond of using "the sort of sexist language that diminishes women" and argued that he would not have used the same phrase if she were a man.

"My question on the registration of companies in Ireland had nothing to do with the condition of my womb travelling to my head, as is the traditional hysterics rhetoric," she added.

"I expect that sort of language from the sketch writers of the Daily Mail, not from the chancellor of the exchequer."





Hammond replied: “I did not of course accuse the Honourable Lady of being hysterical, I urged her not to be hysterical. But if my comments, Mr Speaker, have caused the Honourable Lady any offence I of course withdraw them unreservedly.”

And speaker John Bercow added: “I thank the chancellor for what he said. There is a difference between order and taste, and people will have their own view about taste. But the point has been raised and the chancellor has made a gracious statement in response. I think that for today we should leave it there.”

During the session in the Commons, Creagh said many UK firms have registered companies in the Republic of Ireland to “hedge their bets” due to uncertainty regarding regulations and policy following the Brexit vote.

“Can he urge his cabinet colleagues when they’re negotiating round the table to give policy and regulatory certainty to industries like the chemical industry who aren’t waiting to see what the Government is doing, but are simply haemorrhaging jobs and investment out of this country?” she asked the chancellor.


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