Green Party leader Caroline Lucas has faced a backlash from across the political spectrum for her claim that an all-female Cabinet of Remainer MPs should be set up to create a “unity government” and ensure a so-called “people’s vote” on Brexit.
Speaking in the Guardian, Ms Lucas proposed the idea of the all-female cabinet, saying “It is a generalisation and there are plenty of exceptions, but I would argue, generally and in my experience, women tend to be less tribal and tend to find it easier to establish trust more quickly.” Adding that “I simply want to see whether or not by bring women together with the key women from across Westminster whether or not we could generate a new dynamic.
Among the women Ms Lucas invited to join such a Cabinet were Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, Conservative MP Justine Greening, and Plaid Cymru leader Liz Saville Roberts.
Other suggestions included Heidi Allen, Kirsty Blackman, Yvette Cooper, Sylvia Hermon, and Anna Soubry.
Ms Lucas added she wasn’t completely against involving men — for instance accepting that a key anti-Brexit campaigner like Dominic Grieve could be given a Cabinet seat.
“We are facing a crisis. Time is running out,” she said.
Is there anything more sexist than claiming your gender determines your worldview/behaviour/attitude?♀️
Caroline Lucas calls for emergency female cabinet to block no-deal Brexit https://t.co/aLXQX2QgHv
— Liz Truss (@trussliz) August 11, 2019
However, her comments were lambasted by MPs from across the political spectrum for a variety of reasons, including accusations that the plan would be a failure as well as criticizing it for being sexist and for including only white female MPs.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss responded to the proposal by tweeting: “Is there anything more sexist than claiming your gender determines your worldview/behaviour/attitude?”
Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott tweeted it “won’t work… whatever the gender of the participants”.
Labour MP Clive Lewis called it a “very interesting proposal”, but asked: “Where are the BAME women politicians?”
Ms Lucas has apologised for her comments, though only based on the accusations of racism. Her belief in a unity government to stop Brexit and even an all-women cabinet appears unshaken.
“I should have reached out further and thought more deeply about who, and what kind of politics, an all-white list represents. I apologise.”
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