Firefighters accuse Lord Tebbit of being patronising and insulting after comments in lobby

Norman TebbitThe FBU has condemned comments by Lord Norman Tebbit who suggested women should not serve in the fire and rescue service.

In an exchange between firefighters Carina Peel and Sean McCallum, who were both in Westminster campaigning against cuts to the fire and rescue service, the former Tory cabinet minister said “women shouldn’t be firefighters” and they should accept this, as he has accepted he “cannot be a mother” because of his gender.

Samantha Rye, secretary of the FBU’s National Women’s Committee, called for Lord Tebbit to apologise for his comments.

She said: “They are incredibly patronising and insulting. Women have served with distinction, alongside their male colleagues, for over 30 years in the fire and rescue service. They work incredibly hard to prove themselves in what is still a predominantly male environment.

“Lord Tebbit was rescued from the Brighton bombing by firefighters – would he have refused the service he received if it had been a women rescuing him? Women firefighters go through the same testing and fitness training as their male colleagues do. We can do the job just as well.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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