Daily Mail criticised worldwide for 'legs-it' headline

  • 29/03/2017

British politicians have lambasted a popular tabloid for "moronic" sexism after it splashed a photo of Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's legs across the front page with the headline "Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!"

But the Daily Mail  has hit back, telling critics to "get a life".

A representative for the tabloid told The Independent the backlash to the front page was overblown.

“For goodness sake, get a life! Sarah Vine’s piece, which was flagged as light-hearted, was a side-bar alongside a serious political story."

“Is there a rule that says political coverage must be dull or has a po-faced BBC and left-wing commentariat?"

On Tuesday the public took to social media to denounce the Daily Mail for focusing on the two leaders' legs when they met to discuss Britain's departure from the European Union and a potential referendum on Scottish independence.

"The 1950s called and asked for their headline back.#everydaysexism," tweeted Labour parliamentarian Ed Miliband using a hashtag for highlighting women's experiences of sexism.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, tweeted: "It's 2017. This sexism must be consigned to history. Shame on the Daily Mail", while veteran Labour lawmaker Harriet Harman branded the coverage "moronic".

The piece, written by Ms Vine, long-time columnist and wife of Conservative politician Michael Gove, was headlined: “Finest weapons at their command? Those pins!"

Ms Vine described Ms Sturgeon's legs as "altogether more flirty, tantalisingly crossed ... a direct attempt at seduction".

In a statement to the BBC, the Daily Mail said the piece was "a sidebar alongside a serious political story" and had been flagged as "light-hearted". It said the paper often commented on the appearance of male politicians too.

Ms May has dismissed the row over the front page, and suggested the coverage of her legs was "a bit of fun".

"I think that most people concentrate on what we do as politicians. But if people want to have a bit of fun about how we dress, then so be it.”

But the coverage of the meeting generated a torrent of criticism on Twitter with members of the public branding it as "utterly puerile" and "sexist, derogatory trash journalism".

"Has anyone told the #DailyMail that we put the clocks forward by an hour, not back 3 decades?" one woman tweeted, referring to the country's switch to British Summer Time at the weekend.

The Daily Mail, which has a circulation of 1.45 million and reaches millions more online, backed Brexit in last year's referendum on Britain's EU membership.

Ms Sturgeon, who heads Edinburgh's devolved government, wants Scotland to hold a referendum on independence before Britain leaves the European Union.

Reuters / Newshub.