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Jeremy Corbyn denies calling Theresa May ‘stupid woman’ in PMQs clash

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Jeremy Corbyn has denied branding Theresa May a “stupid woman” as the Labour leader faced furious demands to apologise for a muttered comment.

Anger erupted at the end of the last session of Prime Minister’s Questions of 2018, as a series of Tory MPs accused Mr Corbyn of a “misogynistic” remark.

At the end of exchanges between Mrs May and Mr Corbyn in the House of Commons on Wednesday, which were dominated by Brexit, the Labour leader appeared to mutter “stupid woman”.

After clips of Mr Corbyn’s alleged comment spread on social media – and were picked up by MPs still sitting in the chamber – the Labour leader came under fire.

John Bercow
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MPs attempted to show Speaker John Bercow video clips of Corbyn’s remark

Conservative Party deputy chairman James Cleverly tweeted: “This kind of misogynistic language must not be tolerated.”

The Liberal Democrats added to calls for the Labour leader to apologise, with the party’s MP Wera Hobhouse saying: “It is time Jeremy Corbyn left the 1980s behind.”

MPs returned to the row at the end of PMQs, with a series of Tories raising points of order with Commons’ Speaker John Bercow.

Former Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin demanded Mr Corbyn come back to the Commons to apologise.

However, Mr Bercow told MPs he had not seen or heard the alleged remark and so was unable to offer a ruling.

He said: “I cannot be expected to pronounce upon that which I did not see and which was not witnessed by my advisers, and which I did not hear and which was not witnessed by my advisers”.



Speaker John Bercow reacts to points of order over an alleged incident involving Jeremy Corbyn




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Speaker Bercow on Corbyn allegation

Meanwhile, outside the Commons chamber, Mr Corbyn’s spokesman denied the Labour leader had muttered what had been alleged.

He told reporters Mr Corbyn did not call the prime minister a “stupid woman” but instead had muttered “stupid people” over attempts to turn PMQs into “a pantomime”.

The spokesman added: “He is clear that he didn’t say ‘stupid woman’ and has no time for any misogynistic abuse of any kind.

“People who are trying to make out he said something he didn’t have to account for themselves.”

The spokesman said Mr Corbyn would be willing to repeat his denial in the Commons.

Mr Bercow, who was accused earlier this year of calling a top minister a “stupid woman” himself, was also dragged into the increasingly dramatic row during further points of order in the chamber.

Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom asked: “Why it is that when an opposition member found that you had called me a ‘stupid woman’, you did not apologise in this chamber?”

Theresa May
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Theresa May clashed with the Labour leader over Brexit

Mr Bercow, who has faced scrutiny over separate bullying allegations, told Ms Leadsom he “dealt with that point months ago” and she had made “no reference” to the dispute in their meetings since.

In May, the Speaker admitted using the word “stupid” but did not offer an apology.

Tory MP Vicky Ford later referenced Ms Leadsom’s point of order, telling Mr Bercow: “May I add the words ‘me too’.”

But, former Labour foreign secretary Margaret Beckett tried to push back, accusing Tory MPs of trying to turn the Commons into an “orchestrated riot”.

Dame Margaret has previously suggested Labour MPs should defend Mr Bercow, a Remainer, from attempts to unseat him as Commons’ Speaker as he has been fairer to backbenchers in crucial Brexit legislation.

Later on Wednesday, Mr Cleverly was challenged on Sky News over allegations Chancellor Philip Hammond called a fellow Tory MP a “stupid woman” during a previous session of PMQs in July.

Mr Cleverly said he had not seen that footage, but replied: “If someone oversteps the mark, and if someone calls them out on it, then an apology is the appropriate thing.”

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