Labour MP Tracy Brabin hits back at ‘sexist’ criticism of House of Commons outfit: ‘I’m not a slapper’

Shadow culture secretary says response is an example ‘of the everyday sexism women face’

Sarah Young
Wednesday 05 February 2020 10:03
Labour MP criticised for attire worn in the House of Commons

A Labour MP has hit back at trolls who said she looked like a “slapper” for wearing an off-the-shoulder dress in the House of Commons.

On Tuesday, Tracy Brabin revealed that she had received a number of insults online over her choice of attire.

One Twitter user shared a photograph of Brabin wearing the outfit and asked: “Is this really appropriate attire for parliament?” alongside the hashtag #DressStandards.

The post was met with hundreds of replies, including one which read: “Looks like she was banged over the wheelie bin at the back of the pub last night.”

The shadow culture secretary said she refused to “lose sleep” over the criticism of her appearance and shared an unapologetic response on her Twitter account.

“Sorry I don’t have time to reply to all of you commenting on this but I can confirm I’m not....A slag, Hungover, A tart, About to breastfeed, A slapper, Drunk, Just been banged over a wheelie bin.

“Who knew people could get so emotional over a shoulder...”

Brabin was raising a point of order in the Commons on Downing Street’s decision to order senior journalists from some of the UK’s major news organisations to leave a briefing when she spoke at the despatch box wearing the outfit.

The MP later told the BBC the response was “sadly” routine and “another example of the everyday sexism women face”.

“They were playing top trumps on how rude they could be,” Brabin said.

“They are idiots and they are rude but I am not going to lose much sleep over them.”

The mother-of-two’s response was widely praised on social media with actor Gary Webster writing: “Brilliant retort Tracy. Omg if only they were as vocal about the behaviour, misogyny, racism, falling asleep and warped policies of the ruling govt as they are about revealing one shoulder [sic].”

Comedian Tez Ilyas agreed, adding: “Even if you were any of those things Tracy, more power to you to wear what you want”.

The controversy also prompted other women to share their stories about being shamed for exposing skin while at work, with one person writing: “If I had a quid for every time someone had commented on what I wore rather than what I said…This rarely happens to men – calling it out is the only way to educate”.

It has since been spotted that a dress similar to the one Brabin wore in parliament, which retails at £35 on Asos, is “selling fast” on the online retailer’s website. The Independent has contacted Asos to confirm whether this is the exact dress that was worn by Brabin.

MPs do not have an official dress code, however they are advised to wear “usual” business dress.

According to Parliament: “The dress of members these days is generally that which might ordinarily be worn for a fairly formal business transaction.

“The Speaker has, on a number of occasions, taken exception to informal clothing, including the non-wearing of jackets and ties by men.”

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