The newly-appointed Environment Secretary has come under increased pressure to resign over comments she made to a newspaper about male nannies
Andrea Leadsom was widely criticised last week for suggesting that it would not be ‘sensible’ to employ a man to care for children in case they were a paedophile.
The former Tory leadership candidate told The Times, “Let’s face it, most of us don’t employ men as nannies, most of us don’t. Now you can call that sexist, I call that cautious and very sensible when you look at the stats.”
She continued to say, “Your odds are stacked against you if you employ a man. We know paedophiles are attracted to working with children. I’m sorry but they’re the facts.”
Mrs Leadsom is now facing a major backlash from dads and male nannies, who have called for the Environment Secretary to be sacked.
Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron described her remarks as ‘stupid’ and ‘ignorant’, urging Theresa May to remove her from her post.
“Andrea Leadsom has let yet another of her masks slip,” he said. “It is inconceivable that somebody who holds such offensive, ignorant views should be sat around the Cabinet table.”
Now, an organisation for survivors of male sexual abuse has written an open letter to Ms Leadsom, telling her that comments like the ones she made last week help to perpetuate a myth about men.
“To make the statement as you did certainly makes it harder for male carers to step forward as no one wants to be seen as a child abuser,” Duncan Craig, the founder of Survivors Manchester, wrote.
“It re-iterates and re-ignites the oppressive and suffocating myth that ‘men can’t care’ and ‘any male that wants to use his compassion by working in the caring profession must be approached with caution as he clearly has an ulterior and sinister motive’.”
He went on to say that Mrs Leadsom’s comments have ‘certainly’ caused a number of boys and men that were on the verge of asking for help to stay silent, fearful of judgement.
A spokeswoman for Andrea Leadsom said the Minister was “not saying that men are unsuitable as nannies”, claiming that she had employed a male nanny for five years.
It’s the second time Mrs Leadsom has found herself in hot water over comments she made to the same newspaper.
During the leadership campaign, she appeared to suggest being a mother made her a more suitable candidate for Prime Minister than Theresa May because she had a “very real stake” in the future of Britain.