A Daily Mail front page that declared “Forget about Brexit, who won Legs-it!” next to a photograph of Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and British prime minister Theresa May has prompted widespread outrage.
Inside the paper there was was more ogling at the female leaders, with a headline reading: “Finest weapons at their command? Those pins!” A column by Sarah Vine referred to Sturgeon’s legs as “altogether more flirty, tantalisingly crossed … a direct attempt at seduction”.
The front page, which appeared on Twitter on Monday night, was met with instant criticism from politicians and the public.
Among the first to call out the front page as sexist and offensive were Labour MPs Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper. Former Tony Blair spin doctor Alistair Campbell labelled the paper “utter scum” and urged anyone who spotted a copy of the Mail to rip it up, while former Labour leader Ed Miliband wrote on Twitter: “The 1950s called and asked for their headline back”.
Moronic! And we are in 2017! pic.twitter.com/LTGEZdtNo3
March 27, 2017 Harriet Harman
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn echoed their condemnation, saying such attitudes should be “consigned to history”.
It’s 2017. This sexism must be consigned to history. Shame on the Daily Mail. pic.twitter.com/V3RpFSgfnO
March 27, 2017 Jeremy Corbyn MP
The front page, which referenced difficult talks between the leaders over Brexit in Glasgow, looked slightly different in Scotland, where the Scottish edition of the Daily Mail used the same photograph but with a headline that read: “Oh so frosty! Secrets of Nicola and PM’s talk-in.”
Journalists, commentators and members of the public in the UK and beyond were left shaking their heads.
This is what happens when you let that drunk, pervy uncle at a wedding edit a newspaper. pic.twitter.com/FQcqjjQMNJ
March 27, 2017 Jane Bradley
While others took matters into their own hands.
I’d like to think in an alternative brexit-verse far far away this is what everyone’s getting cross over #dailymail pic.twitter.com/QlOg5Y6a0p
March 27, 2017 Ashley Gould (@PhilipNByrne)
I fixed it. #dailymail pic.twitter.com/KHv6WHrZzO
March 27, 2017 Philly Byrne ☘️
Later editions of the paper appeared to attempt to water down the editorial line, describing it on the front as: “Sarah Vine’s light-hearted verdict on the big showdown.”