Nicky Morgan leads attack on Jeremy Corbyn’s gender ‘segregated’ carriages
The Secretary of State for Education has led the attack on the Labour left winger’s women only carriages idea – saying the prospect makes her ‘very uncomfortable’.
The Labour leadership frontrunner has said he would consider women only train carriages, in a bid to stop sexual harassment and assaults.
Explaining why he thinks such a drastic move is necessary, the MP for Islington said that it is “unacceptable” for women to be forced to change their behaviour to avoid harassment and that more should be done to protect them.
Mr Corbyn floated the controversial idea in a recent policy statement and said that he said he would “consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome”.
However, Ms Morgan has made feelings for the proposal abundantly clear, saying that she is “very uncomfortable with the idea”, which she thinks would leave women feeling even “more vulnerable”.
“Women should feel safe and be free from harassment on public transport. [This idea] seems to say ‘let’s segregate people’ rather than tackling the issue. And so I don’t think this is the right way to go,” she told Sky News.
She also raised questions over how the move would be policed, stating, “frankly I actually feel safer sitting near a guard.
“What, the guards are going to be sitting in the women-only carriages, are they? I just don’t think this has been thought through,” she asked.
Ms Morgan was not the only critic of Mr Corbyn’s idea, with his Labour rivals quick to join the attack on the leadership frontrunner.
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Yvette Cooper – who is currently trailing behind the MP for Islington – said she thinks, “staff needed to enforce the segregated carriages should be keeping all the carriages safe instead.”
She went on to say that she thought Corbyn’s idea would be “turning the clock back, not tackling the problem,” she told The Telegraph.
And rival candidate Liz Kendall said that, “everyone should be able to travel without fear of physical or verbal attacks, and we have much to do as a society to reach that point.
“But I don’t believe that gender segregation is the answer. That’d be an admission of defeat, rather than a sustainable solution.”
Former Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone – who was responsible for introducing same-sex marriage, but lost her seat in May’s election – accused Mr Corbyn of dragging the UK back into the “dark ages”.
She said: “Corbyn’s thinking takes us back to the dark ages. His motivation may be noble – but corralling women in a special carriage is not the answer.
“It’s not the women who should have to change their behaviour – it’s the men who harass them.
Aides for Mr Corbyn – who has a long history of supporting LGBT rights – have since defended his proposals after this morning’s furore, insisting that he was merely opening up the idea of women’s only carriages to consultation.