UK opposition leader denies calling PM May a ‘stupid woman’

Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacting after Prime Minister Theresa May made a joke about the his failure to demand a no-confidence vote. (AFP)
Updated 19 December 2018

UK opposition leader denies calling PM May a ‘stupid woman’

LONDON: Britain’s main opposition leader sparked a political furor Wednesday after he was accused of calling Prime Minister Theresa May a “stupid woman” in the House of Commons.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was caught on camera appearing to mutter the insult during the prime minister’s weekly question-and-answer session.
He denied, it, saying instead that he had called Conservative lawmakers “stupid people.”
The always-lively session was even more heated than usual, as lawmakers’ frustrations and divisions over Brexit boiled over into raucous shouting and personal jibes. Britain expected to leave the European Union on March 29 but lawmakers from many political stances are against May’s Brexit plan.

Conservative legislators yelled “Shame!” and “Disgraceful!” at Corbyn after the alleged jibe.
“I did not use the words ‘stupid woman’ about the prime minister or anyone else, and am completely opposed to the use of sexist or misogynist language in absolutely any form at all,” Corbyn said.
The incident came as Britain’s Parliament attempts to end bullying, abuse and sexual harassment. Earlier this year, a cross-party working group reported that one in five parliamentary workers had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in the previous year.
It’s not the first time a male political leader in Britain has been accused of using sexist language.
In 2011, then-Prime Minister David Cameron was accused of sexism when he adopted a catchphrase from a popular commercial and told a female lawmaker to “calm down, dear.”
Wednesday’s incident also has echoes of Donald Trump branding Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” during the 2016 US presidential campaign.
As British media outlets enlisted lipreaders to try to determine what exactly Corbyn had said, actor Rob Lowe was among those who offered their opinions on social media.
“FYI- I have to say, I saw Jeremy Corbin call the Prime Minister a “stupid woman” with my own eyes watching on @SkyNewsPolitics,” Lowe tweeted.

 


UK PM Boris Johnson locks down England as COVID-19 cases pass 1 million

Updated 31 October 2020

UK PM Boris Johnson locks down England as COVID-19 cases pass 1 million

  • Lockdown starts just after midnight on Thursday morning
  • United Kingdom has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19

LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered England back into a national lockdown after the United Kingdom passed the milestone of one million COVID-19 cases and a second wave of infections threatened to overwhelm the health service.
The United Kingdom, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned the “worst case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.
Johnson, at a hastily convened news conference in Downing Street after news of a lockdown leaked to local media, said that the one-month lockdown across England would kick in at a minute past midnight on Thursday morning and last until Dec. 2.
In some of the most onerous restrictions in Britain’s peacetime history, people will only be allowed to leave home for specific reasons such as education, work, exercise, shopping for essentials and medicines or caring for the vulnerable.
“Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative,” Johnson said, flanked by his chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and his chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance.
The government will revive its emergency coronavirus wage subsidy scheme to ensure workers who are temporarily laid off during a new England-wide lockdown receive 80% of their pay.
Essential shops, schools, and universities will remain open, Johnson said. Pubs and restaurants will be shut apart from for takeaways. All non-essential retail will close.
Johnson’s imposition of stricter curbs came after scientists warned the outbreak was going in the wrong direction and that action was needed to halt the spread of the virus if families were to have any hope of gathering at Christmas.
Johnson was criticized by political opponents for moving too slowly into the first national lockdown, which stretched from March 23 to July 4. He fell ill with COVID in late March and was hospitalized in early April.
The measures bring England into alignment with France and Germany by imposing nationwide restrictions almost as severe as the ones that drove the global economy this year into its deepest recession in generations.
So far the United Kingdom has reported 46,555 COVID-19 deaths — defined as those dying within 28 days of a positive test. A broader death measure of those with COVID-19 on their death certificates gives the toll as 58,925.
The United Kingdom has the world’s fifth largest official death toll, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.