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By Women in Westminster

Boris Johnson vows 50% of MP hopefuls will be women as Labour accuses him of living in 'dark ages'

Boris Johnson vows 50% of MP hopefuls will be women as Labour accuses him of living in 'dark ages'
2 min read

Boris Johnson has promised to help women "reach their full potential" if the Tories win the next election, as he launched a fresh push to recruit female Conservative activists.


The Prime Minister marked the 100th anniversary of the first female MP taking her seat in the House of Commons by vowing to oversee the "biggest drive of female member, activist and candidate recruitment" in the party's history.

Under the new Tory "ambition", Mr Johnson said half of all Conservatives standing at the next general election will be women.

The pledge came as the Prime Minister prepared to unveil a statute to the "trailblazer" Nancy Astor, who took up her seat a century ago as the first female MP.

The party is also vowing to do more to improve flexible working and access to childcare in a bid to appeal to female voters.

Mr Johnson said: "Whilst we might have led the way in terms of female representation, it is vital we keep that up. That is why I am committing to the biggest drive of female member, activist and candidate recruitment, and why it is my ambition that half of Conservative candidates on our list for future parliamentary elections are women.

"I have often said that talent and brilliance is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. I will make sure that women are supported to take up the opportunities that politics present.”

But the promise came as Labour flagged controversial articles the Prime Minister wrote for the Spectator in the 1990s, which they claimed showed his attitude towards women was "straight out of the dark ages".

A 1995 piece described the children of single mothers as "ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate".

Mr Johnson also went on to say it was "outrageous that married couples should pay for ‘the single mothers' desire to procreate independently of men", and criticised "the modern Briton [for] his reluctance or inability to take control of his woman".

Seizing on the comments, Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti said: "These unearthed comments further reveal Boris Johnson’s contempt for women and families, as he hypocritically attacks what he appallingly describes as 'illegitimate' children.

"From attacking single mothers working hard to raise their kids, to advocating sexual harassment in the workplace, his sexist comments are an affront to women everywhere. He has no right to attend or have any involvement in this event.

"Someone whose attitudes towards women are straight out of the dark ages is not fit to be Prime Minister of our country."

According to the BBC, 30% of Tory candidates standing in the current election are women compared to 53% for Labour.

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