UPDATED: Bishop Auckland MP apologises "unreservedly" for labelling new Tory women ministers "puppets"

Helen Goodman

Helen Goodman

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

A NORTH-East MP who drew criticism after saying new Conservative female ministers' choice of clothes "really is the most interesting thing about them" as she backed a newspaper's focus on what they wore on reshuffle day has apologised.

A Daily Mail spread describing the women promoted in the reshuffle as being on the "Downing Street catwalk" and dissecting their outfits sparked protests.

Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman suggested it was the only coverage the newly-appointed members of the Government deserved.

"Mail's page on Tory women was fair: all are puppets who'll change nothing and their appearance really is most interesting thing about them," she posted on Twitter - sparking a mostly hostile reaction from other users.

Liz Truss, the new Environment Secretary, was described by the newspaper as looking "bright and sensible but a little bit too eighties air hostess" while Employment Minister Esther McVey was a "thigh-flashing vision in grey check by Vivienne Westwood".

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg poked fun at the media focus on fashion, posting a photo of himself wearing a suit, shirt and trademark Liberal Democrat yellow tie and joking that he hoped he did not look "too 80s cabin attendant".

Newly-appointed Education Secretary Nicky Morgan - who was among those featured in the fashion spread - called on Opposition leader Ed Miliband to act.

"Disappointing words from shadow minister Helen Goodman," she posted.

"Will Ed Miliband condemn these appalling comments?"

Three hours ago Ms Goodman said the comment had been meant as a joke.

"I'm very sorry my last tweet offended some people. I intended it as a light-hearted remark," she said.

However, she went further later in the afternoon as the row escalated.

"I was wrong in what I tweeted about Tory women ministers and I apologise to them unreservedly," she wrote.

Comments (5)

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4:52pm Thu 17 Jul 14

C R HUDSON says...

From someone with the persona of a "Bagwoman" the brass neck of her is astounding just a pity she is not sharp in the commons!
From someone with the persona of a "Bagwoman" the brass neck of her is astounding just a pity she is not sharp in the commons! C R HUDSON
  • Score: 6

5:12pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Jack Regan says...

From a woman with about as much affinity with Bishop Auckland and as much style as a penguin she really has some nerve; she clearly has no mirrors in her house.
From a woman with about as much affinity with Bishop Auckland and as much style as a penguin she really has some nerve; she clearly has no mirrors in her house. Jack Regan
  • Score: 5

6:24pm Thu 17 Jul 14

loan_star says...

Its probably jealousy as Goodman looks likes she's been dragged through a hedge backwards then had her fingers stuck in an electric socket.
Its probably jealousy as Goodman looks likes she's been dragged through a hedge backwards then had her fingers stuck in an electric socket. loan_star
  • Score: 5

7:52pm Thu 17 Jul 14

OldBiddyFrom Barney says...

The pictures printed in the papers don't do her justice, she is actually a naturally good looking woman.

I may still be cross with her not speaking out about the vile hate speech against the Travellers doing the rounds lately, BUT that dosen't alter the facts that she does work hard and I do believe her to be a fundamentally honest person.

David Cameron has made a big mistake in promoting 'yes women' because the first time they do a programme like Question Time they are going to be made to look ridiculous. Helen is right they are a bunch of puppets Cameron must be absolutely desperate.
The pictures printed in the papers don't do her justice, she is actually a naturally good looking woman. I may still be cross with her not speaking out about the vile hate speech against the Travellers doing the rounds lately, BUT that dosen't alter the facts that she does work hard and I do believe her to be a fundamentally honest person. David Cameron has made a big mistake in promoting 'yes women' because the first time they do a programme like Question Time they are going to be made to look ridiculous. Helen is right they are a bunch of puppets Cameron must be absolutely desperate. OldBiddyFrom Barney
  • Score: 2

9:41pm Thu 17 Jul 14

spragger says...

Fancy having this 'nettle sucker' as an MP.
So much for the sisterhood
Why does the NE get all these carpetbagging, duck eggs as MP's?

Has she found out about 'Ingleton' yet?
Fancy having this 'nettle sucker' as an MP. So much for the sisterhood Why does the NE get all these carpetbagging, duck eggs as MP's? Has she found out about 'Ingleton' yet? spragger
  • Score: 7

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