The UK is living in a febrile climate at the moment, with the language being used by our representatives under close scrutiny by those who will take offence at anything they can twist into an insult. Look at the ‘anti-Semitism’ issue.

Into this atmosphere wades Boris Johnson, fearlessly wagging his foolish tongue where, no doubt, angels would fear to tread – repeating an insult to Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry that earned his own prime minister an admonishment a year ago. Here he is, getting a proper telling-off for it from Commons Speaker John Bercow:

Here‘s The Guardian:

Johnson said: “It is the most astonishing … ‘no’ says the Labour frontbench, that’s their attitude, that’s their attitude, isn’t that extraordinary, this is an institution … ‘Say no,’ says the noble and learned Lady Baroness whatever it is, I can’t remember what it is … Nugee.

Bercow interrupted Johnson: “First, we do not name call in this chamber, and secondly … we do not address people by the titles of their spouses. The shadow foreign secretary has a name and it is not ‘Lady Something’.

“We know what her name is and it is inappropriate and frankly sexist to speak in those terms, and I am not having it in this chamber. That is the end of the matter. That parlance is not legitimate and it will not be allowed, and it will be called out.”

Sexist and inappropriate. And Mr Johnson knew this, because Theresa May earned a similar telling-off from Mr Bercow a little more than a year ago, on February 6, 2017.

Here‘s the Huffington Post:

Emily Thornberry complained to Commons Speaker John Bercow today after Theresa May called her “Lady Nugee”.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary is married to High Court Judge Sir Christopher Nugee.

Thornberry’s critics like to poke fun at the Islington South MP by invoking her formal title.

Speaking in the Commons today, the prime minister became irritated at Thornberry’s heckling and deployed the name.

Thornberry later complained to Bercow. “Is it in order for the prime minister to refer to a member of this House not by her own name, but by the name of her husband?” she asked.

“I have never been a Lady and it will be a great deal more than being married to a Knight of the Realm in order to make me one.”

May said she would “of course apologise” to Thornberry, but added quickly: “for the last 36 years I have been refered to by my husbands name.”

So Theresa May is sexist as well.

But we should also remember that Boris Johnson has a long history of racism. That’s right – the UK’s Foreign Secretary considers foreign people of certain races to be – well, I’ll let Marcus Chown spell it out for you:

At a time when Labour’s leader has been attacked – bitterly – over a six-year-old mistake for which he has apologised, the real, intentional racism and sexism of Mr Johnson goes almost unremarked by the mainstream media.

Johnson is a habitual, casual racist and sexist who belongs to a party that tolerates racism and sexism. I have previously remarked on its history of anti-Semitism. It’s past time the Tories were brought to book for their gutter-vermin attitudes.


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