Jo Swinson told to 'sit down, darling' for refusing interruption in Commons debate

PUBLISHED: 21:49 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 21:58 04 September 2019

Jo Swinson faced down 'sexist' heckling in the House of Commons as she calmly took apart Boris Johnson's position. Picture: Parliament TV

Jo Swinson faced down 'sexist' heckling in the House of Commons as she calmly took apart Boris Johnson's position. Picture: Parliament TV

Parliament TV

Jo Swinson had to put up with heckling from an "entitled, sexist toad" in the House of Commons as she was midway through taking apart Boris Johnson's Brexit negotiating position.

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The Liberal Democrat leader was addressing MPs about the flaws in the prime minister's arguments around keeping no-deal on the table when she was told to "sit down, darling" by a male MP.

She had been asked to give way - to allow another MP to interrupt - but refused, saying she had already given way once.

The East Dunbartonshire MP firstly started to take about Boris Johnson's position. "I'm intrigued that as a result of the House of Commons saying very clearly that we will not countenance crashing out of the EU with no deal, the prime minister's response is that this somehow messes up his plan."

Boris Johnson glowered in his seat as she continued to ask him, to laughter, if he had been paying attention when MPs voted against a no-deal Brexit.

"Is he seriously saying that the extent of his plan was to try to bully the EU, and that he could only get a good deal by threatening that he would leave without a deal?"

She then gave way to an MP, who asked her about the Lib Dems' manifesto commitment to stopping Brexit. Having answered the point she continued to discuss Johnson's negotiating position, when she was asked to give way a second time.

"I've already given way," she said.

"Sit down, darling," came the anonymous voice. Swinson carried on regardless.

Following this, fellow Lib Dem Layla Moran slammed the MP who condescended to her party leader on Twitter. "Whoever told Jo Swinson to 'sit down darling' or whatever was said, a: picked the wrong lady to mess with and b: is clearly an entitled sexist toad."

Swinson, who entered the Commons as the 'baby of the house', has long espoused a pragmatic kind of feminism.

Having written a book about power and gender equality, she was the first MP to bring a baby into the House of Commons. She opposes affirmative action programmes, preferring 'nudge' methods of bringing women to power, and notoriously refused to be pigeonholed at her own party conference by wearing a t-shirt that said: "I am not a token woman."

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