Labour MP Tracy Brabin today slammed critics of her off-the-shoulder dress in the Commons – demanding people ‘listen to what women say not what we wear’.
The shadow minister was accused of looking like a ‘hungover tart’ and as if she had ‘just been banged over a wheelie bin’ after she wore the black dress in the chamber last night.
One Twitter user shared a photograph of the 58-year-old’s outfit and asked: ‘Is this really appropriate attire for parliament?’
Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Ms Brabin, who used to be an actress on the ITV soap Coronation Street, said she could shrug off the criticism but felt a responsibility to ‘push back’.
Wearing a necklace bearing the Suffragette slogan Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere’, she said: ‘I was startled by the vitriolic nature of (the messages) but it’s part of the territory as a politician.
‘I am in a privileged position that I can brush this off but I feel it’s my responsibility to call it out for those women that don’t have that amplification.
‘Because there are women around the world putting up with this day in day out.’
‘I try not to take it too seriously and it seemed to hit a nerve. The amount of supportive comments I’ve had absolutely overwhelm the comments about my judgement and what I am wearing.’
Ms Brabin added: ‘Twas ever thus. Women are judged continually by how they look… it is unacceptable that we are raising out daughters to be looking inwards rather than outwards.’
In a withering assessment of those taking her to task over her clothing, she said: ‘They are anonymous people often, keyboard warriors sat in their mum’s back bedroom eating Pot Noodles and having a pop at people they don’t know anything about.’
Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Tracy Brabin, who used to be an actress on the ITV soap Coronation Street, said she could shrug off the criticism but felt a responsibility to ‘push back’
Shadow culture secretary Tracy Brabin took matters into her own hands after being confronted over an an off-the-shoulder dress she chose to wear during a debate last night
One Twitter user shared a photograph of her wearing the controversial outfit and asked: ‘Is this really appropriate attire for parliament?’
Ms Brabin, 58, posted a sharply-worded response hitting back at the people who called her names for the dress
The rebuke came after Ms Brabin delivered a stinging riposte on Twitter last night, saying: ‘Sorry I don’t have time to reply to all of you commenting on this but I can confirm I’m not….
‘A slag, Hungover, A tart, About to breastfeed, A slapper, Drunk, Just been banged over a wheelie bin. Who knew people could get so emotional over a shoulder…’
Ms Brabin, who played Tricia Armstrong in the ITV programme between 1994 and 1997, replaced Jo Cox as Labour MP for Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire, after she was murdered by far-right extremist Thomas Mair in 2016.
Ms Brabin admitted the £35 dress was off-the-shoulder but it slipped slightly further as she stood up to speak.
She wore the dress yesterday while raising a point of order on Downing Street’s decision to order senior journalists from some of the UK’s major news organisations to leave before a briefing on Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans.
A Parliamentary Secretary replied claiming the Government is ‘committed to being open in their dealings with the press and the principles of media freedom’.
She added that: ‘No journalists are barred from official media briefings hosted by the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson.’
The Government spokesman said it is ‘entirely standard practice’ to hold ‘smaller meetings’ as was the case on Monday.
But it was her outfit, not the relationship between the Government and political journalists, which caught the attention of social media.
Dozens slated the former actress for having her shoulder exposed while she spoke a the dispatch box.
Dozens slated the former actress for having her shoulder exposed while she spoke a the dispatch box
One person asked: ‘Has she just fallen out of the pub?’, while somebody else commented: ‘She should be asked to leave’.
One woman wrote: ‘It was inappropriate dress for HofC or any workplace other than a nightclub. You looked silly.’
But others leapt to her defence, with one supporter claiming she could ‘wear a bikini’ as long as he continues to fight for social causes.
Another posted in support of her: ‘Are people forgetting how Boris Johnson rocks up every day? Permanently scruffy, but I guess that’s ok…’
The 58-year-old received 17,506 votes in October 2016, despite turnout in her Yorkshire constituency being just 26 per cent – one of the lowest by-election turnouts since the Second World War.
Ms Brabin was named Ms Cox’s successor after all other main parties decided not to run against the Labour candidate as a mark of respect.
The off-the-shoulder dress divided Twitter users, some of whom called her derogatory names and others who supported her
Tracy Brabin is pictured playing Tricia Armstrong on Coronation Street in 1996 alongside co-star Michael Le Vell
New MP: Tracy Brabin is pictured after winning the by-election for Labour in Batley and Spen, West Yorkshire, on October 21 2016
Who is Tracy Brabin? The Coronation Street actress who swapped TV for politics after murder of Labour MP
Tracy Brabin was born in Batley, half of the West Yorkshire constituency she now represents in Westminster, in May 1961.
She went to grammar school before studying drama at Loughborough University.
Brabin became known for her role as a clumsy waitress called Sandra opposite Only Fools N Horses star David Jason in the ITV sitcom A Bit of A Do in 1989.
She later bagged the role of Tricia Armstrong in Coronation Street in 1994 where she stayed until 1997.
The now-58-year-old also starred in EastEnders as Roxy Drake in the early 2000s.
Tracy Brabin (pictured second from right) is pictured with the late Jo Cox (second from left) before her death and the by-election that saw her replace her as MP for Batley and Spen
Her political interest was first made clear in 1997 when she wrote a newspaper article endorsing the Labour Party, telling of how her father-in-law died on a hospital trolley while waiting to see a doctor.
In 1998 she appeared in a Labour Party political broadcast urging people to join.
She was the lead member of a group of nine actors who wrote an open letter in The Observer newspaper claiming that while they opposed Britain’s intervention in the Iraq War, they still supported the re-election of a Tony Blair Labour Government in 2001.
The former actress, who also appeared in Emmerdale, expressed her interest in running for office after the death of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox in June 2016.
The former actress played Tricia Armstrong (centre) in Coronation Street on ITV between 1994 and 1997
Tracy Brabin is pictured (left) as Roxy Drake in EastEnders alongside Michelle Ryan as Zoe Slater in 2001
She was one of two women who threw their hat in the ring to replace Mrs Cox after she was shot and stabbed on the way to a constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on June 16 that year.
Brabin had canvassed for Labour in the Kirklees Council election of 2012 and had worked with Mrs Cox on her campaign against local library closures in the area.
Brabin was voted in as Batley and Spen MP in October after all the other major parties promised they wouldn’t contest Labour’s seat as a mark of respect for the late Mrs Cox.
A source told The Sun during the by-election campaign: ‘Tracy worked very closely with Jo on a number of local issues and is keen to carry on her work.
‘She’s well known locally, she grew up around here and is seen as the best candidate by the local Labour party.’
Ms Brabin is pictured in Cleckheaton during the 2016 by-election campaign (left) and at a London party in July 2018 (right)