CONTROVERSIAL MP Austin Mitchell has stood by his claim that an aide to Ed Miliband called the North “backward” when it comes to choosing women as potential MPs.
The Labour MP for Great Grimsby told a Sunday newspaper that Anna Yearley, Mr Miliband’s political secretary, had said that “Yorkshire and Northerners are very backward when it comes to choosing women and something had to be done about it.”
He added: “She may be right, but Northerners have the right to choose whoever they want. She is a woman on a mission. I find her attitude condescending and it irked me.”
Ms Yearley said the claim was untrue. She said on Twitter: “Story about me in Mail on Sunday totally untrue. I did not say the words attributed to me.”
Last night Mr Mitchell claimed that the comments were made to him “a couple of months ago”, adding: “A couple of things I remember (being said) were ‘the North was backward in selecting women’ and ‘Yorkshire was backward in selecting women’.”
Labour whip and Hull MP Karl Turner said the claim was “claptrap”, adding: “Time he stopped complaining about imagined happenings and started campaigning.”
A Labour spokesperson said: “These claims are completely ridiculous and completely untrue.
“Labour wants to see more women in Parliament and we make no apology for introducing and using all women Shortlists, which have contributed to us having far more female MPs than the other parties.”
Hell hath no fury: Page 9.