Recently, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson was rebuked by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow for his sexist comments, when he was addressing shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry as Lady Nugee. To applause and approval from other members of the Labour Party, Bercow said that Thornberry has a name and she is not just “Lady something”. Johnson had referred to her as “the Baroness, whatever it is, I cannot remember what it is… Nugee”. Married to High Court judge Sir Christopher Nugee, Thornberry goes by her maiden name. Shortly after, Johnson’s rather demeaning way of addressing Thornberry was all over the Internet as the video went viral.
Bercow, on his part, called it sexist to refer to the MPs by the titles of their spouses instead of their names. “We know what her name is. It is inappropriate and frankly sexist to speak in those terms, and I am 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,” he admonished Johnson. According to a report by the BBC, he eventually apologised for his remarks.
Earlier, after the UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May referred to her as Lady Nugee in the house of Commons, Thornberry had complained to Bercow then. “Is it in order for the prime minister to refer to a member of this House not by her own name, but by the name of her husband?” the Islington South MP had asked.