A FORMER Tory MP has criticised Boris Johnson over the “embarrassing” lack of female Conservative MPs.

Amber Rudd, who served as MP for Hastings and Rye between 2010 and 2019, claimed the Prime Minister was “clearly more comfortable with men and is promoting men and hugging them close”.

There are six female MPs in the Conservative party’s cabinet, made up of 26 members.

Speaking on the Financial Times’ Payne’s Politics podcast, the former Home Secretary said: “Better decision making is made by a group of people who are diverse and, if you don’t have women at the table, you have poorer decision making.

The Argus:

“There’s that just factual statement I’m going to make, which is evidenced by all sorts of research.

“It’s an issue of equality. If you look like a government which is only interested at having men at the senior level, only having men in the decision making, then you are an unequal government and you are promoting inequality. And that is the wrong place to be for the British Government.”

Ms Rudd also reacted to analysis which showed that 97 per cent of the coronavirus press conferences had been led by men. She said: “What’s extraordinary is that nobody is objecting – they should – and that the Prime Minister’s inner team hasn’t noted this and tried to learn from it and do something about it. I think it is wrong.”

She said leading female Tory MPs had been kept “under wraps”.

The Argus:

Ms Rudd said: “You can only conclude that this Government’s default position is to trust and work with men. Every now and then they wake up and they think, ‘oh my god, what are we going to do about the women, quick, get me a woman on the next presentation’. That approach to women, as a kind of inconvenient extra, is not the way to handle half the population.”

A Downing Street spokesman told the Financial Times the Government was “focused on improving diversity throughout our ministerial ranks and crucially lining up the next generation of female talent”.

He said: “Alongside one of the most diverse cabinets in history we now have an equal gender balance at junior ministerial level, meaning more female MPs will be better placed for future promotions.”