‘Part-time Penny’ jibe as leadership hopeful Mordaunt is hit by new woke accusations
Trade minister Penny Mordaunt faced accusations last night she was a ‘part-time’ minister as she faced a stunning three-pronged attack from rival campaigns.
As well as her work ethic being questioned, she was facing renewed criticism for being too woke.
A source at the Department for International Trade, where she works, yesterday labelled her ‘part-time Penny’ for an allegedly lax approach to work. ‘Penny has often been missing at the crucial moments,’ the source said.
‘It feels like she’s been a part-timer and clearly has been focusing most of her efforts on prepping a leadership campaign rather than the day job.’
Penny Mordaunt faced accusations last night she was a ‘part-time’ minister and criticism for being too woke
The source said Miss Mordaunt is responsible for state-by-state US trade deals but when the UK signed its first one with Indiana she did not travel to attend the ceremony.
Instead, she snubbed the signing ceremony in order to promote her book, Greater: Britain After The Storm, at the Hay Literary Festival.
Miss Mordaunt is also accused of having declined to attend a World Trade Organisation summit on Ukraine where members set out steps to support Ukraine, because it was on a Sunday.
But a source close to Miss Mordaunt said: ‘Penny takes her duties very seriously… Nobody will believe Penny has downed tools or would find the timing of this story surprising.’
The latest criticism follows accusations from rivals that she had pushed through a Bill which replaced the word ‘woman’ with ‘pregnant person’. And they claimed sections of her book included barbs at classic British TV shows and films – accusations her team furiously deny.
The Mordaunt campaign said it was not true that she pushed for the phrase ‘pregnant person’ to be included – or that she did not like Dad’s Army.
When she was a minister in the Cabinet Office, Miss Mordaunt introduced a Bill to allow ministers to take maternity leave. The emergency legislation was introduced when Suella Braverman – now one of her leadership rivals – was due to have her second child, because ministers in the Cabinet were not entitled to take time off for giving birth.
Miss Mordaunt’s opponents say the phrase ‘pregnant people’ was only replaced with ‘expectant mothers’ when members of the House of Lords demanded that women be acknowledged. Miss Mordaunt claims it was she who had taken the decision to change the legislation – but Mrs Braverman cast doubt on this.
Former Brexit secretary David Davis , said: ‘At the great showdown at Chequers she was both brave, she was on the Brexit side and she was the most effective person taking part.’
In a statement she said: ‘Rather than being an uncontested celebration of women in the workplace getting on with the job, this Bill was hijacked for trans activists who insisted that I had to be referred to as a “pregnant person”, and not what I was and am – a mother.
‘To this day I don’t know why those responsible for allowing the Bill’s progress to be needlessly delayed to the week of my due date did so. However, that an indulgence of extremism was responsible was obvious.’
Miss Mordaunt wrote a book last year with Chris Lewis, a pro-Remain writer, in which she passed comment on various British films and TV programmes. In the book, she said David Lean films such as Great Expectations promote the idea that ‘the past was so much better’.
‘The obsession with the past continues on TV today, with Downton Abbey… and The Crown being notable examples of rose-tinted, revisionist, retro-representation,’ she said.
She also commented on the ‘nostalgic focus’ of ‘churned-out’ sitcoms such as Dad’s Army and claimed the series It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum featured ‘a full-house bingo card of… casual racism, homophobia, white privilege, colonialism, transphobia, bullying, misogyny and sexual harassment’.
Mr Baker, who is backing Mrs Braverman, said on LBC of Miss Mordaunt: ‘She was supposed to be a Brexiteer. And when I was bruised… Penny was staying in the Cabinet along with the others.
‘They could have resigned, they could have made a difference and they chose to stay in the Cabinet and vote for deal that would have destroyed the Conservative Party.
‘She made the wrong grand strategic call. And she didn’t fight for what she believed in.’
But former Brexit secretary David Davis, who is backing Miss Mordaunt, said: ‘At the great showdown at Chequers she was both brave, she was on the Brexit side and she was the most effective person taking part.’