Boris Johnson's claim to be a feminist is mocked by Labour's Jess Phillips

PUBLISHED: 09:36 09 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:44 09 June 2019

Boris Johnson has recently said a new referendum would cause 'deep feelings of betrayal’. Photo: PA

Boris Johnson has recently said a new referendum would cause 'deep feelings of betrayal'. Photo: PA

Archant

Boris Johnson's claim that he is a feminist has been ridiculed by Labour MP Jess Phillips.

Phillips, a prominent campaigner on women's rights, said: "If Boris Johnson is a feminist, then I went to Eton."

Johnson was one of seven of the current Conservative leadership candidates who told the Guardian they were feminists after Dominic Raab said he "probably wasn't" one.

In 2011 Raab sparked controversy when he claimed men got a "raw deal" and labelled feminists as "obnoxious bigots".

On Raab, Phillips told the Press Association: "The feeling is mutual frankly, if Raab thinks I'm an obnoxious bigot."

On his rivals, she said: "A load of men saying that they are a feminist to try and outdo other men in a competition where they think it is their divine right to rule is not feminism."

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Phillips said "feminism is about action", adding that she had not seen many of the Conservative candidates who have declared themselves feminists taking such action.

"What the hell has Boris ever done for the rights of women?

"Boris Johnson has to remember that when we are talking about feminism we are talking about all women, not just the women that he chooses.

"Boris Johnson called loads of women where I live 'letterboxes'. It is racist and sexist and he has done absolutely nothing to go and talk to Muslim women about the reasons that they do anything."

Phillips said she "would like him to prove me wrong if he is going to tell me what actions he is going to take".

On the other candidates, Phillips said: "[Angela] Leadsom can say it, not just because she is a woman, but because I have seen Leadsom fight for change and make the arguments for change in regards to a number of different things.

"Proxy votes, sexual harassment systems. I have seen Leadsom go out sometimes to her own personal detriment to fight for women's rights."

She said she also "noted" Rory Stewart and Matt Hancock to be "on the more progressive side of things" when it comes to women's rights.

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