In Brief

Shaun Bailey: mayor of London candidate’s most controversial comments

Tory pick to challenge Sadiq Khan has been accused of misogyny and sexism

Shaun Bailey has been accused of “worst kind of casual sexism and misogyny” after old comments surfaced in which the Conservative Party’s candidate for Mayor of London praised the days when “teachers were men”.

Bailey made the remarks in a 2007 interview with the Sunday Times, while discussing discipline in schools.

“When I was a kid, there was none of that PC nonsense. If you were wrong, they told you so. The teachers were men, then.

Later, he returned to the theme, adding: “Our teachers were men, and we looked up to them.”

In the same interview, he argued against schools providing contraceptive resources to pupils and expressed concerns about underage girls accessing abortions without parental involvement.

Speaking to The Guardian today, Labour MP Seema Malhotra accused Bailey of voicing “backward views straight out of the 1950s - laced with the worst kind of casual sexism and misogyny”.

She added that the remarks were part of Bailey’s “long and hideous track record of misogyny and divisiveness”.

The Tory mayoral candidate, who will attempt to unseat Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan in 2020, has previously faced scrutiny for remarks going back as far as 2005, while employed as a youth worker in his native North Kensington.

In a report unearthed by Buzzfeed News, he claimed that good-looking girls in deprived areas “tend to have been around”, and suggested that poor people need “look to rules” to prevent them turning to crime.

Despite being raised alone by his Jamaican mother, he has also been accused of derogatory comments about single mothers and immigrants.

In 2006, he told MPs that teenage girls in his community viewed getting pregnant as a “career choice” in order to claim benefits.

In a policy paper published in 2008, Bailey claimed that schools observing Hindu and Muslim festivities were “robbing Britain of its community”, a factor in turning the UK into what he described as a “crime-riddled cesspool”.

Bailey has described the controversial statements as the “rather raw and ill-judged manner of a young man still figuring out his world”. 

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