Picture the scene. An elected Member of Parliament turns up to work in clothing that seems a little on the casual side. No jacket or tie. Certainly, no fabulous heels.

Are they attacked online? Are they splashed across the front pages of the media? Are they called a ‘slapper’ and a ‘drunk’?

No, they weren’t. Because that MP was me. And while I wasn’t wearing an off-the-shoulder LBD – despite the fact I could pull one off no problem – I was wearing a pair of Next trackies and a Manchester City top.

In fact, I entered the chamber wearing these trackies and then registered my vote against the Bedroom Tax.

I didn’t do this to make a point or attract attention. I was just bored of wearing a suit, and it was a comfortable alternative after many long, dramatic days of voting in Parliament.



I really didn’t think that much about it, as I’m sure Tracy Brabin, the shadow culture secretary, didn’t either.

Had there been a wider scale of keyboard warriors back then, just itching to be outraged by something, I may well have copped some stick. But even today, I can’t find anything online about my own brush with the fashion world, even though what I did was arguably a trailblazing moment.

I do remember it raising a few eyebrows, but not from anyone whose opinion I cared much for.

So what makes me different from Tracy Brabin?

We both worked in the undeniably stunning settings of the Houses of Parliament, and we can both pull off evening wear.

But I’m a man, and as such, I can turn up to work in trackies and a City top without inviting endless bile upon myself, my character, and my physical appearance.

Those that did ignore Ms Brabin’s shoulder realised that she was highlighting Number 10’s Trumpian decision to stop respected political journalists from attending important Brexit briefings.

But the breathtaking sexism women MPs face on a daily basis has once again reared its ugly head for all to see.

We find ourselves discussing fashion over facts — appearance over authoritarianism.

Now, more than ever, we must focus on the substance of Parliament. We must look at what MPs are saying, scrutinise how they vote and how it will affect our country for generations to come.



We need journalists and commentators to be holding lying politicians to account, not treating Parliament like a red carpet awards ceremony.

I would rather see this new generation of women representing their constituents in whatever outfit they choose, than see smug career politicians slouching across the front benches like some Z-list, off-brand Roman Emperor.

Let’s focus on what’s important here.

Some women wear dresses. Even some men wear dresses. And those dresses come in all shapes and sizes. Women also have shoulders just like men! I know, it’s truly mind-bending stuff.

But as compelling as all that is, let’s remind ourselves of the important stuff: Brexit is nowhere near ‘done’. Yes, we’ve successfully alienated ourselves by acting like clowns for six years, but we have secured exactly zero trade deals or any agreements. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson believes he is above scrutiny.

So, let’s all give our heads a little wobble and remind ourselves that what women wear is not news and certainly not worthy of abuse.

Repeatedly lying to the country, failing to keep hardworking families in jobs and snatching a prosperous future from a young people, however, may well be worth keeping an eye on.

MORE: Tracy Brabin acting career: Who did the MP play in Coronation Street?

MORE: I made upskirting illegal but I still don’t feel safe wearing a skirt

MORE: MP called slag for off-the-shoulder top slams sexist keyboard warriors