Dawn Butler ramps up feud with Kemi Badenoch with Handmaid’s Tale jibe

Labour’s Dawn Butler (PA Archive)
Labour’s Dawn Butler (PA Archive)

Labour’s Dawn Butler reignited a feud with Kemi Badenoch on Tuesday with a video attacking the Conservative minister that invoked The Handmaid’s Tale.

The dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, which spawned a successful TV series, envisions religious fundamentalists seizing power in the United States and depriving women of all rights.

Ms Butler, who is bidding to return to the Commons as the Labour candidate in Brent East, shot the video to promote Issy Waite, who is standing against Ms Badenoch in the new seat of North West Essex.

Most polls project a comfortable win for the Business Secretary and Equalities Minister. But one large-scale MRP survey by JLP Partners had her just one point ahead of Ms Waite on 26% to 25%.

Ms Butler urged Liberal Democrat and Green supporters to vote tactically, alleging that Ms Badenoch was intent on changing the 2010 Equality Act.

“So all of this stuff that they're saying in regards to trans issues, for instance, it's not just that,” the Labour politician said.

“They want to just erase all the protections that we have fought hard for.”

Ms Butler added: “I don't know if anybody's watched Handmaid's Tales [sic], but it reminds me of that.

“When they say, ‘how did it start’? This is how it starts. But you could stop it with your vote.”

A spokesman for Ms Badenoch responded: “Dawn Butler will be a great motivator for getting the Conservative vote out in North West Essex.

“We hope she makes many more videos to remind people of her toxic brand of hard-left politics and show voters what a big Labour win will really look like.”

Ms Butler was contacted for comment.

The incendiary remarks come after Ms Butler backed Doctor Who actor David Tennant in a row over Ms Badenoch’s stance on transgender and women’s rights.

“Not all Black women think the same,” Ms Butler tweeted. “I agree with David Tennant.”

Ms Badenoch said she would "not shut up" after Tennant suggested she should do so at the British LGBT Awards.