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Backlash for all-women government suggestion.

CALLS for an all-women government to stop Brexit have received a frosty reception.

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas has written to leading female politicians from a range of parties suggesting they could work together to replace Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Cabinet.

But Newcastle Labour MP Chi Onwurah asked why every woman invited to take part was white.

Critics of the plan highlighted the fact Ms Lucas wrote to Labour backbencher Yvette Cooper, who has opposed a no-deal Brexit but has not backed a second referendum, but not to Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, who has supported a second public vote.

Ms Abbott, the first black woman to become an MP, is a more senior figure in the Labour Party because she is a member of the Shadow Cabinet.

In response to criticism, Ms Lucas said on Twitter: "The list of women came about because they comprise the leadership/deputy leadership of the relevant parties/ groupings/nations of the UK. But ... it absolutely needs to be opened out further, I would love Diane Abbott to be involved."

Ms Onwurah said: "No it doesn't, they are not all leaders or deputy leaders and to talk about 'opening it out further' is incredibly patronising. Including BAME [black and minority ethnic] women is not going some extra mile!" The women Ms Lucas has written to include Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. She also wrote to Tory former cabinet minister Justine Greening, the SNP's Kirsty Blackman, Liz Saville Roberts of Plaid Cymru, Change UK's Anna Soubry and independent MPs Heidi Allen and Lady Sylvia Hermon.

Explaining her plan, Ms Lucas said in a newspaper article: "Why women? Because I believe women have shown they can bring a different perspective to crises, are able to reach out to those they disagree with and cooperate to find solutions."

Last night Ms Lucas apologised, admitting she was "wrong to overlook" her "women of colour colleagues".

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 13, 2019
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