Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary of the UK, was unequivocally scolded by the leader of the House of Commons, for being sexist.
It started when Johnson addressed his opposition counterpart—the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry—and enthused that he forgot her name. He then addressed her as Lady Nugee, a title afforded to her through the knighthood of her husband Christopher Nugee:
‘Say no’ says the Labour frontbench. That’s their attitude… isn’t that extraordinary. ‘Say no’ says the noble and learned lady, the Baroness… whatever it is, I can’t remember what it is… Nugee!”
The House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, the chief officer and highest authority in the House who keeps the order and calls on politicians to speak, immediately chastised Johnson for this. Bercow said:
First of all, we don’t 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’s not ‘Lady something’.
We know what her name is and it is inappropriate and frankly sexist to speak in those terms. And I’m not having it in this chamber.
That is the end of the matter, no matter how senior a member, that parlance is not legitimate. It will not be allowed and it will be called out.
Earlier this year, Johnson was in the spotlight for the resurfacing of his questionable views about women and members of the LGBTQ community.