More evidence of BoJo’s craven capitulation to feminists – a piece in today’s Times. Where are the Tory MPs prepared to criticise BoJo for promoting women above better-qualified men? What a spineless lot they are – apart from Philip Davies and Ben Bradley, so far. More to come, shortly.
Boris Johnson considers himself a feminist and will promote more women to the cabinet in the next few months, No 10 said yesterday.
The prime minister’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, said there were “improvements to come” on the representation of women in government.
Speaking on International Women’s Day, Stratton said Johnson had described himself as a feminist at a meeting with female MPs in the autumn.
“In the months and years ahead, as he perhaps rearranges his top team, he will be mindful of making sure that that cabinet looks like the British public,” she said.
Stratton added that Johnson would not be taking paternity leave to spend time with his son Wilfred because he was too busy with work. Downing Street had said that the prime minister was expected to take a “short period” of parental leave after Wilfred was born in April.
Stratton said there were a “great number of talented women” in government and mentioned the children’s minister, Vicky Ford, and the care minister, Helen Whately, as two who had performed well.
Others who have been tipped for a promotion are Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, Victoria Atkins, a Home Office minister, and Lucy Frazer, the solicitor general.
Stratton said: “It’s the Tory party that has had two female prime ministers. So while there is room for improvement and progress on many fronts, actually the Conservatives’ record here is not bad.”
Five out of 21 cabinet ministers are women. Johnson is expected to carry out a reshuffle in May or June. As well as appointing more women to cabinet jobs, he is preparing to promote a swathe of female MPs on the backbenches and in junior frontbench roles to ministerial posts.
Claire Coutinho, a former aide to Rishi Sunak, and Laura Trott, a former aide to David Cameron, are likely to benefit.
In a social media post the prime minister paid tribute to some of the women involved in the fight against the coronavirus.
He praised the work of Professor Sarah Gilbert, who helped develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Kate Bingham, who headed the vaccine taskforce, and Dr June Raine, chief executive of the UK’s medical regulator. “Their ingenuity, dedication and hard work is an inspiration to all of us,” Johnson said.
Amanda Solloway, the science minister, said she had raised the issue of women’s representation with the prime minister.
Asked whether Johnson needed to increase the number of women in the cabinet, she told Times Radio: “The prime minister is incredibly aware of this. The prime minister of course is mindful of getting more women into the cabinet.”
Asked whether she had been bending his ear ahead of a reshuffle, she replied: “I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I wasn’t doing that, would I?”
Like William Hague, who went on to lead the party, Donelan, 36, caused a media storm when she addressed the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool as a teenager. She has quietly impressed government figures since becoming universities minister.
Frequently deployed to speak for the government on broadcast rounds, Whately, 44, served as a deputy chairwoman of the Tories under Theresa May. Before politics she was a management consultant for McKinsey & Company.
Marked out early as a rising star after being elected in 2017, Badenoch, 41, is a Treasury minister and in charge of the equalities brief. No 10 defended her last month after she faced backlash for using social media to criticise a journalist who had questioned her.
Seemingly a natural fit for apprenticeships minister, having been an apprentice herself with an electronics company in Liverpool aged 16, Keegan, 52, has said her experiences of the far-left Militant-controlled Liverpool city council convinced her to join the Tories.
A lawyer and QC, Frazer, 48, was promoted to solicitor general this month. If she performs well she is likely to rise again in the reshuffle.
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