Former SNP leader Alex Salmond has been criticised for telling a senior female Conservative MP to “behave yourself, woman”, describing her as “demented”.
Speaking during a debate on the upcoming appointments to parliament’s various select committees on Wednesday, Salmond said to the minister for small business, Anna Soubry: “The Treasury bench should behave better in these debates, she should be setting an example to your new members not cavorting about like some demented junior minister – behave yourself, woman.”
His remarks were in response to Soubry’s calls for him to “move on”. “Move on where?” retorted Salmond, adding: “Luckily the honourable lady is on the frontbench, so therefore won’t be standing to chair of one of these select committees, otherwise she would have done her chances no good whatsoever.”
Soubry later responded on Twitter that Salmond seemed to think that women “should be seen and not heard” and that his attitude belonged “firmly in the 19th century”. “Salmond can dish it out but he can’t take it,” she said.
Sarah Wollaston, a Conservative MP, jumped to her colleague’s defence, describing it as “totally inappropriate in this day and age” to say such things to female MPs. “It is sexist, this parliament is now nearly a third women and it’s time for this derogatory language to stop,” she said.
In 2011, David Cameron was forced to apologise after he told the then Labour shadow treasury chief secretary, Angela Eagle, to “calm down dear” multiple times during a debate in parliament.
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