Throughout his career, Boris Johnson has developed a reputation for being less than respectful in the way he speaks (or writes) about women.
Now, as he faces a general election campaigning against a strong leader and feminist, Jo Swinson, we look back at just a few of the times Boris has shown how he really feels about women.
1. Revealing insults of choice
Earlier this year, Johnson made headlines after redacted documents released to courts in Edinburgh and London revealed some choice words about former Prime Minister David Cameron. While the original phrase was redacted, a full copy of the paper was leaked to Sky News, reading: “The whole September session is a rigmarole introduced by girly swot Cameron to show the public that MPs were earning their crust.”
“The whole September session is a rigmarole introduced by girly swot Cameron to show the public that MPs were earning their crust.”
2. Purile election promises
The desperation was palpable during Boris’s campaign to become the Conservative MP for Henley in the 2005 general election. In a bid to win over supporters, he promised that ‘voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts’. Somehow, I can’t quite picture that painted across the side of a campaign bus.
3. Creepy comments about female athletes
In the summer of 2012, London was riding high as hosts of the Olympic Games. As Mayor of London, Johnson had so many exciting things to talk about – from Team GB winning 65 medals to the brief Spice Girls reunion at the Closing Ceremony. Instead, Boris decided to voice his thoughts on the professional volleyball players, saying: “As I write these words there are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto… They are glistening like wet otters and the water is splashing off the brims of the spectators’ sou’westers.”
“As I write these words there are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade.”
4. The infamous letterbox column
Given his above feelings towards women’s clothing, of course Johnson had to share his wildly offensive views on burkas. Writing in the Daily Telegraph last August, he said: “I would… say that it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letterboxes.”
His comments were widely criticised by Muslim women across the UK, but despite having many opportunities to apologise for his comments, Boris never has.
5. Attacking Trump’s opponent
Despite the fact that the Prime Minister is clearly a big fan of Donald Trump and his authoritarian values, he clearly doesn’t feel the same way about 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Back in 2007, Boris compared Hillary to ‘a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital’ in a column for the Telegraph. He went on to claim that she carried out her role as First Lady like ‘Lady Macbeth, stamping her heel, bawling out subordinates and frisbeeing ashtrays at her erring husband’. Seems like Johnson isn’t a fan of women with power.
Johnson has previously compared Hillary Clinton to ‘a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital’.
6. Backwards marriage views
Johnson gave us a peek into his regressive views on marriage in March last year, when he referred to the very well-known MP Emily Thornberry as Lady Nugee. While using Emily’s husband’s surname to address her is hardly his worst crime, it’s a great example of how stuck in the past our Prime Minister is.
7. Disgraceful voting record on abortion
While it’s easy to disregard Boris Johnson’s comments about women as stupid, it’s important to remember that his beliefs have an impact on our country.
As an MP, he has always abstained from Westminster votes on abortion, including those related to Northern Ireland, where abortion was only decriminalised in October 2019.
Sadly, it seems the Boris Johnson doesn’t have that much respect for women. But luckily for us, we have the chance to elect a Prime Minister who truly believes in equality (and the fact that she’s a woman is just a bonus!)
If you need a palette cleanser after reading this, check out the Liberal Democrats’ Plan for the Future – where, with Jo Swinson as PM, we can build a brighter future.