Theresa May bowed out with one final act of sickening hypocrisy. She awarded a knighthood to Geoffrey Boycott. The former England cricket captain was convicted of domestic abuse in 1998. Despite an outcry from domestic violence charities, Boycott went on to reveal just how vile he truly is.
“I don’t give a toss”
May’s resignation honours list led to calls of “cronyism”. Alongside Boycott, she also knighted “ex-Downing Street spin doctor Robbie Gibb and David Lidington, who was Mrs May’s de facto deputy”.
But domestic violence charities condemned May for honouring Boycott. As the Guardian reported, co-acting chief executive of Women’s Aid Adina Claire said:
Celebrating a man who was convicted for assaulting his partner sends a dangerous message – that domestic abuse is not taken seriously as a crime.
When challenged about Claire’s statement on BBC Radio 4‘s Today show, Boycott said to presenter Martha Kearney:
I don’t care a toss about her, love. It was 25 years ago. You can take your political nature and do whatever you want with it. You want to talk to me about my knighthood, it’s very nice of you to have me, but I couldn’t give a toss
This prompted further outrage:
Sir Geoff Boycott ‘doesn’t give a toss’ what Women’s Aid says about his knighthood while having an assault conviction. In 1998 a French court heard he punched then girlfriend Margaret Moore 20 times, which he denied. He was given a 3 mth suspended sentence. Do YOU ‘give a toss?’ pic.twitter.com/kq1pquHc8w
— Victoria Derbyshire (@vicderbyshire) September 10, 2019
Goodness me Geoffrey Boycott is a despicable human being. His attitude towards the reporter and the CEO of Women's Aid was vile @VictoriaLIVE.
— Susan Hughes (@SusanGLH) September 10, 2019
I genuinely feel for parents with daughters, or any other adult trying to guide and raise the next generation of young women who will look to the news and see men like Boycott and Polanski feted, awarded and covered in accolades in the face of their proven crimes.
— KJL (@kerryjeanlister) September 10, 2019
Dishonourable Geoffrey Boycott’s knighthood should be withdrawn before it’s conferred.
“That was 25 years ago, love. I don’t give a toss” to a female reporter asking about his domestic violence conviction suggests he needs help, not a title.
— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) September 10, 2019
And there’s another twist to this award that highlights May’s hypocrisy even further.
“They must not be betrayed”
In 2019, the Domestic Violence Bill finally made its way into parliament. At the time May said:
Domestic abuse can take many forms, from horrific physical violence to coercive behaviour that robs people of their self-esteem, their freedom and their right to feel safe in their own homes, but the immense bravery I’ve seen demonstrated by survivors is consistent throughout. We have a duty not only to bring the perpetrators of these vile crimes to justice, but to support victims as they rebuild their lives
Since 2017, when May called a snap general election, legislation to support survivors of domestic violence has faced numerous delays.
The bill was due to go to the next stage of debate in the next parliamentary session. So, on 5 September, 50 signatories from leading charities and women’s rights organisations wrote to Boris Johnson. The letter called for “an assurance” to “deliver the domestic abuse bill”. It said:
protecting the rights and safety of survivors is a priority.
Over two years, thousands of survivors have bravely shared their experiences of domestic abuse with the government and fought to improve support for women and children. They must not be betrayed.
So with parliament now suspended, May’s award to Boycott is a double betrayal:
“It is astonishing and hypocritical that Theresa May introduced the Domestic Abuse Bill as her last-ditch attempt at a domestic legacy while also approving a knighthood for a man convicted of domestic abuse . . .” – @ManduReid https://t.co/8gt2G9xUvI
— WomensEqualityUK (@WEP_UK) September 10, 2019
Sir Geoff Boycott…
In 1998 a French court heard Boycott punched then girlfriend Ms. Margaret Moore -'20 times.
Arise Sir Geoff, you horrid little man.
And @theresa_may – are you really the daughter of a Reverend?
Wobble your head. pic.twitter.com/MEgfHc77L2
— smtmLFC: Red & Unbearable (@smtm_LFC75) September 10, 2019
2017: "We'll step up the response to domestic violence & abuse"
2019: "We will do this by knighting man found guilty of punching woman TWENTY times IN THE FACE"
— 🖤 Revoke, remain, rebuild #NoPlanetB 🌏🔥🌏🔥🌏 (@RemainRevoke) September 10, 2019
“Crucially” as the letter to Johnson noted, new legislation on domestic violence aimed to:
ratify the Istanbul Convention, the landmark international treaty for preventing and combating violence against women.
Yet Johnson’s Tory government just kicked domestic abuse survivors’ chance for legal rights and justice into another ditch. Meanwhile, May’s honoured a convicted abuser.
For every survivor, and to prevent any other person ever facing domestic abuse, we need to get this vile government out. Now.
Featured image via Flickr – Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916
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