THIS week Labour MP Tracy Brabin had a wardrobe malfunction at the House of Commons despatch box.
The shadow culture secretary’s black frock appeared to be a deliberately eye-catching off-the-shoulder number. A photo was soon shared on Twitter by a man who asked: ‘Is this really appropriate attire for Parliament?’
The social media responses were hardly complimentary: Brabin was called a ‘slapper’ and accused of looking drunk and worse. The former Coronation Street actress explained that her dress had slipped as she leant forward to speak.
Others predictably leapt in on Twitter to pontificate about our duty to call out everyday sexism, to which our very own Laura replied, as quick as a flash, ‘No, you have a duty to wear appropriate clothing in the Chamber. You have a duty to look professional, especially to young girls who might view you as a role model. It’s not about sexism. It’s about decency.’
She went on to demonstrate the consistency of her position (across the sexes) in a subsequent tweet:
Who’s right? Should MPs show respect for their office and for Parliament by dressing decently? Discuss!
Editor’s note: Don’t miss Julie Lynn’s comment in TCW today on ‘the bare shoulder in The House of Commons’ debate – why it is a matter of standards and an understanding of what is appropriate, which for most of us thankfully is still instinctive.