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By Ben Guerin
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WATCH: Andrea Leadsom confronts John Bercow over ‘stupid woman’ jibe in dramatic Commons clash

Liz Bates

2 min read

The Commons was today plunged into chaos as MPs rounded on the Speaker after Jeremy Corbyn was accused of calling Theresa May a “stupid woman”.

The row over what the Labour leader said prompted a separate spat between Commons leader Andrea Leadsom and John Bercow.

Ms Leadsom confronted the Speaker over his refusal to apologise earlier this year after using the same sexist jibe about her. 

She squared up to him after PMQs in response to his suggestion that any MP using such language should apologise to the House. 

“Why it is that when an opposition member found that you had called me a stupid woman, you did not apologise in this chamber?” she asked.

But Mr Bercow hit back: “I dealt with that matter months ago in remarks that I made to the House of Commons…

"I’ve reiterated the rationale for the way in which I responded. The matter has been treated of and I am leaving it there."



In May this year, the Speaker admitted callilng the Cabinet minister "stupid" - saying the jibe "simply summed up how I felt" following a bust-up about parliamentary procedure.

He said that in the context of the row he had "used the word 'stupid' in a muttered aside" - but he refused to say sorry.

His latest pow-wow with Ms Leadsom today came after Tory backbenchers called for Mr Corbyn to be reprimanded over his alleged outburst.

Anna Soubry appealed to the Speaker to “deal with it… in a fair way, but also from the point of view of women in this House who are fed up over decades of being abused by men”.

He replied: “I cannot be expected to deprecate the behaviour of an individual which I did not witness.”

Responding to the allegation against Mr Corbyn, his spokesman said: “He did not call her a stupid woman so there’s no basis for an apology. He said stupid people.”

He added: “Lip-reading in such circumstances is always open to doubt. He is adamant that he did not say that. He has no time for any misogynistic abuse of any kind."

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