'Lewd and sexist hand gestures are made at women MPs in parliament'
INAPPROPRIATE heckling and hand gestures are made towards female MPs in parliament, according to a Bolton politician.
Bolton West MP Julie Hilling said she has seen gestures “once or twice”, following claims made by Labour MP Sarah Champion that some Conservatives make lurid hand gestures towards female MPs during debates.
Ms Hilling said the incidents reflected a wider issue in society.
“People who should know better behave in a way that is disrespectful,” she said. “Women in general come in for personal criticism more than men. It’s all about the objectification of women, and we are suppose to just take it.”
In 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron was accused of sexism when he told MP Angela Eagle to ‘calm down dear’ during a Commons exchange.
David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, said rude behaviour was part and parcel of debates in Parliament — but claimed it had improved significantly over the years.
“Sexist or lewd hand gestures is not something that I have seen or experienced,” he said.
“The Chamber is not a very polite place, and I wouldn’t want it to be so.
“There’s nothing wrong with Members of Parliament expressing themselves. It’s a healthy part of democracy.
“But it shouldn’t be referencing sex, race or religion.”
Yasmin Qureshi, who represents Bolton South East, said she has never had any problems.
She said: “I’ve never had any experiences like that — but I never have my glasses on.
“With my background as a barrister I’m so used to people behaving differently or taking a different way.
“If they are making gestures at me I’m not going to take it in.”
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