Last year, when the race to Number 10 was down to Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom, leading Tories wasted no time in flaunting the party’s feminist credentials.
“We will have a woman Prime Minister,” declared Iain Duncan Smith. “The Conservative Party, yet again, leading the way on this.” The situation, tweeted Boris Johnson, proved his party to be “the most progressive in Britain”.
Such claims were never particularly convincing at the time. Anyone with a genuine interest in how British politics treats women already knew the score. The Conservatives do loophole women: individuals who rise the top, but only on condition that they leave others behind. Labour do actual feminists, women who see female liberation in collective rather than individualistic terms, but would rather not have one such creature leading the party.