72 fe­male MPs back Meghan in open let­ter

They vow to de­fend her ‘pri­vacy’

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Re­becca English Royal Cor­re­spon­dent

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’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.