Priti Patel condemns Boris Johnson's 'pat her on the bottom' comment on Peston show

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

A sexist comment once made by Boris Johnson is "appalling" and "unacceptable", Home Secretary Priti Patel has said.

Seemingly unaware that it was made by the Prime Minister in reference to his former boss, Kimberly Quinn, Patel condemned the comment that the best way to manage a female colleague is to "pat her on the bottom and send her on her way".

In Thursday's episode of ITV's Peston, she said, "I would not accept that at all. It's fair to say that I would say... if that ever happens that is just simply unacceptable.

"That is simply not respectful, it's appalling."

When presenter Robert Peston revealed that the words were said by Boris Johnson when he left his job as editor of The Spectator, Patel insisted she does not accept derogatory remarks."I'm not the type of person, I think it's pretty well known, to sort of sit back and accept you know really quite disparaging and derogatory remarks," she said.

  • ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston speaks to News At Ten Presenter Tom Bradby

"I myself have been subject to things of that nature in the past, and I just don't think that's acceptable. I would speak out against that."

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister noted the need for "cultural and social change in attitudes' towards women and girls" during PMQs.

Ms Patel also spoke about calls for Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign over her force’s actions at a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard.

When asked if she was being consistent on her suggestion there was no need for the police chief to resign, yet also having said that she wanted to wait for a report, the home secretary said: "I work with the commissioner on all sorts of policing issues, and actually to run and jump to the conclusion that someone should have to resign off the back of what we saw on Saturday, without seeing the full report, is completely wrong.

"So I think again it's wrong to end up in this sort of prejudging phase before we actually know the full facts."

Asked if she would be willing to work with Sir Keir Starmer and his Labour party to improve women's safety, Ms Patel said: "I work with everybody".

She cited her work on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Victims of Crime and with the The Victims’ Code said she has "strong views in terms of how we must do more, must do better".

The Home Secretary also spoke about being a mother to a 13-year-old son and teaching him that he should respect women.

She said: "As a mother I feel very strongly about this, in terms of how we bring up our children. And one of the basic, basic principles is respect to each other. That is, respect irrespective of our gender, how we speak to each other and how we treat girls."

She added: "It does start also without prejudging. There’s too much prejudging I think that takes place. And also, there are many, many debates around sexism, stereotyping, all those types of things."

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