Emily Thornberry says Boris Johnson ‘has a problem with women’

By Shaun Connolly, PA Political Correspondent

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has insisted Prime Minister Boris Johnson has “a problem with women”.

Launching her bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Opposition, Ms Thornberry said she was best placed to oust the PM within five years.

She told the PA news agency: “Boris Johnson has all sorts of problems with women.

“And he is going to have an even bigger one if I become leader of the Labour Party.

“I think that he has a problem with women.

“I have spoken to a number of women who have said that the way he deals with them – and they are younger women – is that he flirts with them.

“He makes light of them and he undermines them. He has problems with women such as myself. He doesn’t know what to do with me.

“I think that he doesn’t know how to relate to women.”

Ms Thornberry insisted Labour can be back in power in the next five years.

She told PA: “I think that a competent alternative government could get back into power within five years.”

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey also kicked off her campaign with a speech in Manchester on Friday evening, in which she vowed to “shake up” the way Government works and put power into the hands of voters.

She promised to end the “gentlemen’s club of politics” by devolving power out of Westminster, while pledging to introduce a “Green New Deal” that unites Labour heartlands.

“Where I grew up, Westminster, even London, felt like a million miles away,” she said.

“The story of the last few years is that many people feel there is something wrong with their laws being drafted hundreds of miles away by a distant and largely unaccountable bureaucratic elite in Brussels.

“But I’ll be honest, Westminster didn’t feel much closer, and it still doesn’t today.”

The two frontbenchers are up against shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and Birmingham Yardley’s Jess Phillips in the contest, the result of which will be announced on April 4.