Labour MP Liz Kendall has spoken out about “misogyny on the hard left” and the criticisms she faces as a woman in politics.
Ms Kendall, 44, described the “sexist” abuse she has received as a female MP, and how people highlight the fact she does not have any children.
The MP for Leicester West told the Sunday Times Magazine that she was targeted for being a woman, using examples of when she ran for the Labour leadership last year.
At the time, Ms Kendall’s campaign hit out at rivals highlighting the fact she had no children, amid further rumours that she was in a relationship with recently divorced Labour MP John Woodcock, The Press Association reported.
Describing the insults she has been subjected to on Twitter, she said: “There’s a lot of old-fashioned misogyny on the hard left; you’ve only got to look at the comments about me during the leadership campaign.
“I was called a bitch, a whore, a see-you-next-Tuesday, as they say on Towie. All because my political views weren’t the same as theirs. I didn’t like doing it, but sometimes I did retweet them, just because I wanted to make a point and say ‘women shouldn’t have to put up with this’.”
Ms Kendall also complained of an unfair focus on her weight and said she is labelled “poor, single, childless spinster Liz”.
She said: “My situation isn’t that unusual.
“Men never get asked questions like these.Why have I not had kids? I never found myself in the right relationship. Am I in a relationship? None of your business. Will I ever have kids? I’ve certainly not closed any doors. Is there a cut-off age for being a mother? Oh, come on!”
Ms Kendall said she believed that, in politics, her appearance and familial status is seen as a qualifier for her job.
She said it was “sexist” that a woman’s capability was judged by this, adding: “I am a feminist. Women should be judged on what they have to offer. Who cares about what they look like, whether they’re in a relationship or have given birth?
“Sadly, politics and certain sections of the media are a long way behind the rest of society; they think it relates to whether a woman can do her job or not. It’s so sexist. It pisses me off.”