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21 minutes before a woman speaks as Sarah Everard case dominates PMQs

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Prime Minister’s Questions ran for 21 minutes until a woman spoke, despite the debate being dominated by women’s rights.

Six men spoke in Prime Minister’s questions, excluding the Speaker, before a woman took part.

Green MP Caroline Lucas was the first woman to join in the debate which was largely centred on the safety of women and girls in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.

Conservative MP for Barrow and Furness Simon Fell was the first to ask a question before Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer had their usual back and forth.

Tory MP for St Austell and Newquay Steve Double asked a question, then it was the Westminster leader of the SNP Ian Blackford’s turn before Tory MP for Don Valley Nick Fletcher asked a question. Finally, Ms Lucas took part in the debate 21 minutes in.

In the full 40 minutes of PMQs 15 men spoke, compared to six women.

Later in the debate, Mr Johnson said: “We can do all the things that we’ve talked about – two men arguing over the despatch box – we can do all those things, we can bring in more laws, tougher sentences…but we have to address the fundamental issue of the casual every day sexism and apathy that fails to address the concerns of women.”

Questions from MPs are usually submitted in advance and selected in a ballot. The Speaker calls them in a random order.

Today’s selection was similar to the ratio of women to men in the House of Commons. There are 220 women MPs which is 34 per cent of the total.

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