Harriet Harman has given a partial justification of a gender-segregated Labour election rally, saying it was “better than a men-only meeting” and it would have been “rude” to boycott it.
The Labour Deputy leader said she did not “agree” with a meeting attended by senior Labour figures where Asian men and women were separated along gender lines, but she said it was an attempt to get more women from the Muslim community involved in politics.
It would have been better if the meeting had decided to “sit round in a big circle”, she suggested.
Liam Byrne, Tom Watson, Khalid Mahmood and Jack Dromey, Ms Harman’s husband, attended the rally in the Hodge Hill district of Birmingham.
Photographs posted on Twitter by Sion Simon, a Labour MEP who attended, showed men and women sat either side of the aisle.
“We don’t agree with sex segregation. We didn’t agree with it in higher education, and we don’t agree with it in politics either,” she told LBC Radio.
“This meeting was organised by a male Labour councillor and a female Labour councillor, and what they were trying to do is ensure there weren’t men only meetings, which we are even more not in favour of it…