Told to conform: Harriet Harman, who will say she was pressured to be “clubbable” or keep quiet
Harriet Harman will take Gordon Brown and David Cameron to task tonight in an excoriating attack on sexism at the House of Commons.
Labour’s deputy leader will suggest that former Labour premier Mr Brown denied her the title of Deputy Prime Minister because she is a woman.
She also complains that he limited her role at the critical London G20 summit of global leaders to a dinner at Downing Street for their wives.
Warning against “women being used as window dressing”, she will accuse Tory premier Mr Cameron of “a deliberate misrepresentation” at weekly Prime Minister’s Questions, claiming the benches behind him are routinely stuffed with women MPs to disguise the embarrassing truth that the Conservatives are dominated by men.
Ms Harman, a frontline politician for 30 years, will deliver an anecdote-rich speech on equality at Speaker’s House for a series of lectures commissioned by John Bercow.
Ms Harman will argue that parliament still has too few women, black and working class MPs.
Without naming Mr Brown, she will warn that “even getting to the top is no guarantee of equality”.
“Imagine my surprise when having won a hard-fought election to succeed John Prescott as deputy leader of the Labour Party, I discovered that I was not to succeed him as Deputy Prime Minister!” she is expected to say.
“If one of the men had won the deputy leadership would that have happened? Would they have put up with it? I doubt it.