(Adds Daily Mail statement paragraph 7)
By Emma Batha
LONDON, March 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - British
politicians lambasted a popular tabloid for "moronic" sexism on
Tuesday after it splashed a photo of Prime Minister Theresa May
and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's legs across the
front page with the headline "Never mind Brexit, who won
The public also took to social media to denounce the Daily
Mail for focussing on the two leaders' legs when they met to
discuss Britain's departure from the European Union and a
potential referendum on Scottish independence.
"The 1950s called and asked for their headline
back.#everydaysexism," tweeted Labour parliamentarian Ed
Miliband using a hashtag for highlighting women's experiences of
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party,
tweeted: "It's 2017. This sexism must be consigned to history.
Shame on the Daily Mail", while veteran Labour lawmaker Harriet
Harman branded the coverage "moronic".
The paper featured more photos of the two leaders inside
above another headline: "Finest weapons at their command? Those
A columnist described Sturgeon's legs as "altogether more
flirty, tantalisingly crossed ... a direct attempt at
In a statement to the BBC, the Daily Mail said the piece was
"a sidebar alongside a serious political story" and had been
flagged as "light-hearted". It said the paper often commented on
the appearance of male politicians too.
But the coverage of the meeting generated a torrent of
criticism on Twitter with members of the public branding it as
"utterly puerile" and "sexist, derogatory trash journalism".
"Has anyone told the #DailyMail that we put the clocks
forward by an hour, not back 3 decades?" one woman tweeted,
referring to the country's switch to British Summer Time at the
The Daily Mail, which has a circulation of 1.45 million and
reaches millions more online, backed Brexit in last year's
referendum on Britain's EU membership.
Sturgeon, who heads Edinburgh's devolved government, wants
Scotland to hold a referendum on independence before Britain
leaves the European Union.
(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters
Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers
humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and
climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)