Harriet Harman called Labour councillor Karen Danczuk’s claims that she was was “far too pretty to be interested in politics” and should instead join a girl band “inconceivable”.
“I deny I ever said that and it’s inconceivable I would have ever said that,” the deputy Labour leader said in a statement to The Independent.
“I have always believed it’s what you do in politics, not what you look like. I have never discouraged a woman from getting involved in politics on the basis of their looks.”
Danczuk claimed that Harman made the remarks when the pair were introduced for the first time.
The councillor, who is married to Labour MP Simon Danczuk, initially made the claim with regards to the questionable launch of Harman’s pink battle bus this week.
The vehicle, intended to drum up female support for the party ahead of the general election in May, was criticised.
Election Analysis: The Key Voters
Election Analysis: The Key Voters
1/6 Settled Silvers
These are the comfortably-off over-60s, still in work or drawing a decent pension – or both – who are enjoying their entitlements such as the Winter Fuel Allowance, free bus passes and free TV licence. They are worried about immigration and Europe. Both the Conservatives – who are pledging to keep benefits for wealthier pensioners – and Ukip want their votes
2/6 Squeezed Semis
Slightly older than the Harassed Hipsters, they are the second key group for Labour’s family-focused election strategy. They are married couples on low to middle incomes who own unpretentious semi-detached homes in suburban areas. In 2001, these were the Pebbledash People sought by the Conservatives. Now the pebbledash is gone and a modest conservatory has been built at the back
3/6 Aldi Woman
In 1997 and 2001 she was Worcester Woman – a middle-class Middle Englander shopping at Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. Today, the age of austerity means she still goes to Waitrose for her basic food shop but cannily switches to Aldi for her luxury bargains such as Parma ham and prosecco. Identified by Caroline Flint, she is a key target of both Labour and the Conservatives
4/6 Glass Ceiling Woman
In her thirties or forties, she has an established career under her belt, perhaps in the “marzipan layer” – one position below the still male-dominated senior executive level. She is now, according to Nick Clegg, forced into making the “heart-breaking choice” between staying at home to bring up her children and going to work and forking out for high-cost, round-the-clock childcare
5/6 Harassed Hipsters
One of the two key groups identified by Labour as crucial to hand Ed Miliband the keys to Downing Street. Well-paid professional couples, often with children, they live in diverse urban and metropolitan areas rather than the suburbs. More comfortably off than most swing voters, they are time poor – struggling to balance raising a young family with busy work schedules
These are mainly first-time voters, though some are in their twenties – students and digital-age generation renters helping to fuel the “Green Surge”. Idealists, but with no tribal loyalty to any party, they are anti-austerity, middle class, living in urban areas. Despite studying at university or recently graduated, they are struggling to find decent jobs and want cheaper housing and a higher minimum wage
Danczuk tweeted: “What women voters want from politicians is their concerns heard in a serious manner. Not a patronising pink bus screaming drama queen!"
She later posted:
When I first met Harriet Harman she said I was far too pretty to be interested in politics and should be in Girls Aloud. KDCllr Karen Danczuk (@KarenDanczuk) February 11, 2015
“It was at a conference in Manchester,” she told the MailOnline of the meeting. “I wanted a photo with her and she said, 'You're far too pretty to be in politics'. I suppose I've proved her wrong - I did go on to be a councillor.”Reuse content