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UK Foreign Secretary Apologises for Sexist Reference to Emily Thornberry

The Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom (UK), Boris Johnson has apologised for calling the shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry as “Lady Nugee”, a reference deemed sexist by the Speaker of UK’s House of Commons John Bercow.

Labour Party’s Thornberry is married to High Court Judge Sir Christopher Nugee but chooses to go by her maiden name.

The Speaker of the House snubbed Johnson for the, drawing applause in the process from Labour MPs. To this, the latter was quoted as saying by The Guardian that he wished to prostrate himself in front of the Speaker, and that he apologised for “any inadvertent sexism or discourtesy that you may have deemed me to have been guilty of.”

“And I heartily tender my apologies to the right honourable lady if she was offended by what I said and I meant no harm. And I apologise unreservedly to her if I have offended the feelings of the right honourable lady,” he added.

Targeting the Labour frontbench while answering a question about the value of the Commonwealth, Johnson had 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 (Thornberry) 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’.”

He further said that it was “inappropriate and frankly sexist to speak in those terms,” and emphasized that use of such language would not be allowed in the chamber.

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