If you haven’t heard of Sophie Walker already, then get to know her. She is the leader of the Women’s Equality Party who will stand against “national embarrassment” Philip Davies in Shipley this General Election. Davies, for those who aren’t aware, is the time-wasting Tory MP who famously tried to talk out a Bill for the protection of women and girls against gender-based violence, like rape and domestic abuse.
Speaking to the Guardian about her decision to run, Walker said: “Philip Davies basically is a sexist misogynist who puts his own ego ahead of his constituents. His anti-equality agenda in Westminster threatens the rights and freedoms not just of women but also people with disabilities, BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) and LGBT+ communities.
“I think that Shipley deserves an MP who will prioritise representing them and the issues that are important to their constituency, rather than using Parliament as a stage to play out attention-seeking performances.”
Mr Davies MP is an outspoken men’s rights advocate who publicly branded feminists as extremists and claims they do not consider men’s rights. That’s a bit like complaining that a skin cancer awareness charity doesn’t consider the rights of the sun to shine. He also is the MP who spent constituency time speaking for Justice 4 Men And Boys, an anti-feminist campaign group that features such articles as ’13 Reasons Why Women Lie About Rape’ on its website, alongside its ‘Lying Feminists of the Month’ awards.
— Cally Beaton (@callybeaton) April 23, 2017
“Right now if you live in Shipley, your MP is best known in Parliament as a sexist whose favourite pastime is inventing long speeches to prevent other MPs from passing important legislation such as the provision of free hospital parking for carers and compulsory sex and relationships education in schools,” Walker continued. This includes a Private Member’s Bill put forward by Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP to timetable the government’s promise to ratify the Istanbul Convention. This is the “gold standard” of legislation that outlines a strategic approach to tackling the huge issue of gender-based violence with focus on prevention as well as survivor-led prosecution, and the adequate funding of women’s services.
— SophieWalker (@SophieRunning) April 24, 2017
According to the report, the Green party had told Walker that they will stand aside in order to let her challenge Davies. The Liberal Democrats, it said, were also considering backing her.
Davies, who won the seat in West Yorkshire with a majority of more than 9,624 at the last election, said he welcomed Walker “parachuting herself” into the seat with a “politically correct agenda”.
Speaking to the i newspaper, he said: “I have asked Sophie Walker on multiple occasions to give one quote from my 12 years as an MP where I have asked for women to be treated less favourably than men and she hasn’t been able to come up with one.”
This is true. She’s come up with several, as evidenced on the BBC this morning. Watch the show here:
— Victoria Derbyshire (@vicderbyshire) April 24, 2017
“All I have ever said – as people can see from my speeches – is that all legislation should apply equally to men and women. How that can be sexist is beyond me. It is Ms Walker who is a politically correct sexist as she clearly opposes legislation treating men and women equally and she also believes in positive discrimination. The Women’s Equality Party clearly doesn’t believe in true equality between men and women.”
Despite it being continuously pointed out to him, Davies still misses the point that legislation does apply equally to men and women. It has to. However, in the case of the recent Private Member’s Bill for the Istanbul Convention, it acknowledges that gender sensitivity has to be applied to services dealing with traumatised survivors of abuse, such as rape crisis centres and refuges.
The snap Election might be a shock, but its a golden opportunity for us to rid the Commons of men like this who consistently try to derail the progress of women’s rights with no real motivation other than ego and misogyny. Sophie Walker is the silver lining we’ve been looking for, and we can’t wait to see how this one pans out