The shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, has accused a Sky News presenter of sexism after she failed to name the French foreign minister and the South Korean president following repeated questions.
Thornberry, who also serves as the shadow Brexit secretary, was asked if she could name the French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, or give the name or gender of the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye.
Thornberry responded by accusing the presenter Dermot Murnaghan of sexism, saying that he would not have asked such questions of a male politician.
Do you know what, what really upsets me about your attitude to me is that you do this with me. I don’t remember you doing it to anybody else, you know, she said after being asked to name the French minister.
Have you done it to [Brexit secretary] David Davis? Do Sky journalists have a go at [foreign secretary] Boris Johnson on this basis? How about [international trade secretary] Liam Fox? Do you do pub quizzes with them? I mean honestly, really.
Can we talk about some serious stuff? Why don’t we talk about Syria, North Korea? You really want to spend this time pub quizzing me? What’s with you? On a Sunday morning, honestly.
Murnaghan replied: Let’s talk about North Korea … what about the South Korean president then, if you want to talk about North Korea. Do you know the name of the South Korean president, who has been talking about nuking Pyongyang?
Asked later on in the programme about allegations of antisemitism and sexism in the Labour party, Thornberry said: There is always more to be done … there is certainly a lot more to be done by the Tories, and I certainly think sometimes, when it comes to sexism, some Sky presenters need to look at themselves, too.
I really do. It really upsets me that every time I come on here you do another pub quiz with me because you do not do it with anyone else and I do think that it is patronising.
Murnaghan said he had been asking the questions because of her position as shadow foreign secretary and the shadow minister overseeing Brexit. Let’s take this off air because I’ve got a lot to say to you and I don’t think a lot of it ought to be broadcast, said a visibly angry Thornberry.
Thornberry is not the first politician to have been put on the spot by the presenter. In 2011, Murnaghan asked then shadow chancellor Alan Johnson to give the current rate of employers’ national insurance contributions, something the new minister was unable to answer. Johnson resigned his position 10 days later, citing personal reasons.
In January this year, the former education secretary Nicky Morgan refused to say what seven times eight was while appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to announce a new maths test for 11-year-olds. Labour schools minister Stephen Byers was also famously unable to calculate seven times eight when interviewed by BBC Radio 5 in 1998.
News Source TheGuardianNews