72 female MPs back Meghan in open letter
They vow to defend her ‘privacy’
A GROUP of 72 female MPs has written an open letter backing the Duchess of Sussex after she complained of struggling to cope with the pressure of being in the royal spotlight.
Led by Labour MP Holly Lynch, the cross-party group expressed their ‘solidarity’ with Meghan as fellow women in public life.
They criticised what they claimed were ‘outdated, colonial undertones’ to stories written in the national Press. Prince Harry issued a stronglyworded statement last month in which he accused the media, particularly tabloid newspapers, of ‘waging a propaganda campaign’ against his wife. He is also taking legal action against three national newspapers, including the Daily Mail’s sister paper, the Mail on Sunday.
The letter from MPs further claimed that stories about the duchess’s character and family had been ‘distasteful and misleading’.
They said: ‘As women Members of Parliament from all backgrounds, we stand with you in saying it cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.’
Accusing the media of seeking to ‘tear a woman down for no apparent reason’, they claimed they shared ‘an understanding of the abuse and intimidation which is now so often used as a means of disparaging women in public office from getting on with our very important public work’.
The MPs vowed to ‘use the means at our disposal’ to ensure that the Press ‘accept your right to privacy and show respect’. The list of signatories includes several Labour Shadow Cabinet ministers including Diane Abbott, Sue Hayman, Angela Rayner and Valerie Vaz.
Gillian Keegan, Tracey Crouch and Vicky Ford are among a handful of Conservative signatories. The Liberal Democrat signatories are Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse.
One Labour MP initially insisted she had not signed the letter but then said her staff ‘probably’ signed it for her ‘in solidarity’. She added that she did ‘feel empathy’.
The Mail understands however, that several senior women MPs were shown the letter and refused to sign it having been left unimpressed by its content and the lack of any specific examples of ‘misleading’ coverage. A spokesman for the duchess declined to comment, saying correspondence was a private matter.
It is not clear whether the letter has even reached Meghan’s office because it is addressed to the wrong royal residence, Clarence House, which is home to the Prince of Wales. The Sussexes are based at Buckingham Palace. The Queen’s former press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, said public scrutiny was a necessary part of being a public figure.
‘The royals have always been up for scrutiny and as such have to take the rough with the smooth,’ he said.
‘Abuse and intimidation’