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Chancellor Philip Hammond slapped down by Theresa May after saying driving trains is so easy that ‘even a woman can do it’


CHANCELLOR Philip Hammond has sparked a sexism storm by saying driving trains is now so easy “even” a woman can do it.

He made the remark in front of the whole Cabinet — shocking female colleagues, including the PM.

Philip Hammond dug himself a hole as he claimed driving trains is so easy that ‘even a woman can do it’
Reuters

It led to a withering slap-down from Theresa May.

Pauline Cawood, 53, a train driver for more than 20 years, said: “It’s an old-fashioned, sexist comment. He ought to be ashamed of himself.”

She added: “Women are just as capable as men at driving trains. What’s that man been doing for the past 50-odd years?

“Probably sat in a gentleman’s club smoking cigars and drinking whisky.”

Mr Hammond’s comment on Tuesday during a discussion about rail strikes is revealed by political commentator James Forsyth in his column in The Sun today.

Moaning about the stranglehold unions have on picking train staff, the Chancellor, 61, asked why it is so rare to see female train drivers.

Pauline Cawood
Mr Hammond was branded ‘old-fashioned’ by train driver of over 20 years, Pauline Cawood, left, pictured with ex-Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly
PA:Press Association


Train
The Chancellor made the sexist comments in front of the whole Cabinet during a discussion about rail strikes
PA:Press Association

He argued that driving a modern locomotive was so simple now that “even they can do it”.

His remark caused fury around the table.

And when he tried to dig himself out of the embarrassing hole, he was interrupted by Mrs May, who said: “Chancellor, I am going to take your shovel away from you.”

Theresa May
The remarks sparked fury, prompting Theresa May to interrupt saying ‘I am going to take your shovel away from you’
Getty Images

Around 5.5 per cent of the 19,000 train drivers in Britain are female, up from 4.2 per cent in 2012.

Labour MP Jess Phillips said: “Philip Hammond has disgraced himself with this remark, as well as managing to insult half the country’s population.”

A source close to ­Mr Hammond strongly denied that he made the sexist comment, insisting he would never even think in those terms.

The Chancellor’s allies also said the phrase was uttered by another minister unfairly at the Cabinet meeting which wrongly caricatured his position.

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