'Calm down dear' Conservatives accused of sexism

The Prime Minister may be a "new man" who willingly admits to changing baby Florence's nappies but he's now been accused of sexism.

A row broke out after he told the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Angela Eagle to "Calm down, dear" during a bad-tempered exchange at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons.

The Prime Minister's comment was directed at Ms Eagle as she interrupted while he was speaking.

Mr Cameron's comment came as he defended his Government's plans to reform the NHS, which he said were even backed by the former Labour MP for Dartford Howard Stoate, a practising GP.

Image caption Dr Howard Stoate stood down as an MP at the 2010 election

Ms Eagle, who was sitting on the Labour front benches, responded by saying that Dr Stoate had stood down at last year's election, rather than being defeated as the PM claimed.

Despite angry shouts from the Labour benches, Mr Cameron resisted calls to apologise. A Downing Street aide tried to play down the row, telling reporters that the PM had been mimicking "a popular advert" and said: "I think you are maybe over-analysing a humorous remark."

But the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman said: "David Cameron's contemptuous response to Angela Eagle MP at Prime Minister's Questions today shows a patronising and outdated attitude to women.

"Women in Britain in the 21st century do not expect to be told to 'calm down dear' by their Prime Minister."

'Outrageous and unacceptable'

The row over the Prime Minister's language in the Commons comes as a Conservative candidate, Payam Tamiz, standing in Thanet for next week's local elections has resigned from the party over comments made on his Facebook site.

One comment on his personal site states that: "Girls who comment under facebook pics boasting to their sl***y friends about guys they've ***** and had one-night stands with are as low as they come!"

A Conservative party spokesman said: "He has resigned. We consider the language he used outrageous and unacceptable."

Party sources stressed that Mr Tamiz would have been expelled had he not resigned.

The Prime Minister may not feel the need to apologise over his words but he will want to distance himself, and the Tory party, from accusations of sexism.

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