Robyn Vinter: Cameron’s fine line – women’s minister doesn’t support equality, while equalities minister doesn’t support women

The PM is trying to avoid another scandal by splitting Maria Miller’s former role

The new women’s minister doesn’t support equality and the new equalities minister doesn’t support women, it seems.

David Cameron has appointed two ministers to take over from Maria Miller, who resigned this morning. He has already come under fire for his choices.

Sajid Javid, a former Treasury minister, has taken on the responsibility of culture secretary and minister for equalities, while Nicky Morgan has been appointed minister for women.

In March, Javid suggested women didn’t “merit” serving on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee – remarks which were branded “outrageous” by Labour.

The previous month, Nicky Morgan was forced to defend herself to her constituents after voting against equal marriage rights for gay people. She has also been known to support reduced access to abortion.

Given the column inches devoted to Miller and the media scrutiny that currently surrounds the appointment, you’d think the PM would have picked two slightly less controversial characters for these roles.

Doesn’t number 10 have someone Googling these people before they are appointed?

Does Cameron think we’re unlikely to do a quick background check on the people running the country?

It seems the PM is trying to avoid another scandal by splitting the role. But another could be brewing as the Twittersphere is already saying he’s keeping the “homophobe” away from equalities and the “misogynist” away from women.

Or does he simply not care?

I think it’s the latter. Perhaps he knows it will all blow over like Miller’s expenses.

Oh, wait.

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Maria Miller expenses scandal: the internet reacts

Readers' comments (8)

  • You seem to be letting your prejudice get in the way of your reporting.
    Mr Javid saying he thought the latest appointments had all been on merit is not the same as your comment that he "..suggested women didn't "merit" serving.." . Nor do they make him a misogynist.
    Likewise Ms Morgan's opinions do not make her a "homophobe" or necessarily anti-abortion. Rightly or wrongly they are merely different to yours

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  • Ed Vaizey passed over again? Or does he like the first nights and openings, but not the flak on the front bench...

    He is probably too nice to be a Minister.

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  • Thanks for your comment Daniel. To address your first point, Javid said there were no women on the committee because it was based on "merit". That is exactly the same as saying no women had merited being on the committee. It is different to saying no women will ever merit being on the committee - perhaps that's where the confusion is happening.

    Secondly, you'll notice the the words are in quote marks, which look like this " " - that means they're quotes. In this case, they're quotes from what people have said on Twitter.

    Finally, this is an opinion piece - you can tell that by phrases such as "I think" and that my name is in big letters in the headline. Normally people would expect to read someone's opinion about an issue in an opinion piece. If you're more interested in the news story, you can read that here: http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/business-news/politics/sajid-javid-and-nicky-morgan-replace-maria-miller/7879.article

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  • I wonder what is so 'equal' about any government employing a Minister for women, but none for men? I wonder what is so 'equal' about any government employing a Minister for equality, who is always a woman...inferring that women are perpetual victims, and that only women can be 'equal'?

    I can remember when Harriet Harman was the last Labour government's Minister for women and equality (no chance of any conflict of interest there then!). She made a Parliamentary speech in 2008, in which she said that employers should be permitted to discriminate in favour of female and black applicants, for jobs So it's okay to be racist and sexist...so long as your victims are white and male. Even our Ministers of equality don't care about equality it seems

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  • Good point, Will. In the spirit of equality, should there be a men's minister?

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  • Robyn, your article is bang on the nail. Sajid Javid was paraphrasing the weak excuse given by Mark Carney for his failure to appoint women when he was Treasury Minister. It is a sobering reflection of the government's "problem with women". If he was going to comment on the appointments at all, he should have said it beggared belief that there were no women at all who merited appointing in the first place. Not an encouraging person to be given responsibility for equality. However, to answer your final point, there is no need for a men's minister. The inequality is felt by women across all areas of society and this is why a women's minister is needed. When there is no longer inequality, there won't be a need for a women's OR men's minister.

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  • Great comment, thanks Anne.

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  • Silly cheap comment. The vast majority of people who die in abortions are female (mothers and unborn girls), so being critical of abortion is hardly "anti-woman's equality". The gay marriage issue is complex, but preferring the traditional definition should not be crassly simplified as "anti-equality"; and explaining her position is a long way from being "forced to defend herself" on the issue. As for Javid, arguing that appointments should be gender-blind and merit based is similarly not "anti-women"; preferential treatment insults and demeans the women who succeed on their own merits. They are both excellent appointments.

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