UK Politics

Labour MP Frank Doran sorry for 'sexist' fishing remark

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Media captionLabour MP Frank Doran says it was not sexist to say the fisheries minister is not a "job for a woman" but later apologised

A Labour MP has apologised for suggesting the post of fisheries minister was not a "job for a woman".

Aberdeen North MP Frank Doran said the remark, made in a Commons debate, was "an error of judgement".

But Education Secretary Nicky Morgan - who is also the women's and equalities minister - said his comments were "outrageous and deeply offensive".

UKIP leader Nigel Farage tweeted: "Just imagine for a split second how the media would react if I said this."

During a Commons debate on fisheries, Mr Doran said he could not remember if there had ever been a female fisheries minister.

Sheryll Murray, the Conservative MP for South East Cornwall - whose husband was killed in a fishing accident in 2011 - intervened to say there had not "but we have had former female secretaries of state".

Mr Doran acknowledged she was right, but said there was "no dedicated fisheries minister".

To audible gasps, he added: "I'm not sure it is a job for a woman, although the honourable lady might reach that."

'Blatant sexism'

Hearing the reaction around the chamber, Mr Doran added: "That was not a sexist remark. I know the fishing industry very well."

But several hours after the exchange, Mr Doran - who was a lawyer before entering Parliament - apologised. "It was an error of judgement which does not represent my view or the Labour Party's" he said.

Mrs Murray's fisherman husband was killed when his clothes became caught in a netting winch on his boat.

Ms Morgan said Mr Doran's comments "seriously undermine our work to raise aspiration among young women and girls".

She added: "He should apologise immediately. Labour are very good at throwing stones but they are too quick to ignore blatant sexism within their own ranks - Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman cannot ignore this."

Mr Farage said Mr Doran, who is stepping down at May's election, had been given "an easy ride".

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