Brexit Debate Needs More Women, Fewer Men, Labour’s Harman Says

  • Party’s former deputy leader asks Ofcom to pressure news shows
  • Says ‘this referendum is too important to be left to men’

British broadcasters should be featuring more women in their debates about membership of the European Union, the opposition Labour Party said.

The governing Conservative Party has provided the leading figures on each side in the referendum campaign on a so-called Brexit, with most of them middle-aged white men. Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne lead the “Remain” side, with Justice Secretary Michael Gove and former London Mayor Boris Johnson the most prominent figures on the “Leave” side.

Harriet Harman, Labour’s former deputy leader, has written to the broadcast regulator Ofcom urging it to ensure news shows do more to feature female politicians, she said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. Out of 58 politicians discussing the issue on BBC Radio 4’s flagship “Today” show since the start of January, only 10 were women, she said.

“Half the population of this country are women and our membership of the EU is important to women’s lives,” said Harman, 65. “Yet men are -- as usual -- pushing women out. This referendum is too important to be left to men.”

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