Complaints as UK paper focuses on leaders’ legs

Gregory Katz
Associated Press

London — Britain’s Daily Mail tabloid has sparked complaints with a front page photograph focusing on the legs of Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The photo of the two leaders published Tuesday displays their legs prominently alongside a headline that read “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!”

May and Sturgeon had met to discuss vital differences in their approach to Britain’s exit from the European Union and a possible second Scottish independence referendum that could break up the United Kingdom.

It was their legs however that drew the popular tabloid’s attention, drawing complaints of sexism from some politicians and readers. An inside headline said their “pins” were the finest weapons at their command.

The newspaper said in a statement that the piece about the legs was a “lighthearted” side-bar alongside a serious political story, and urged critics to “get a life.”

The statement said the Daily Mail often comments on the appearance of male politicians, and asks if there is a rule that all political coverage must be dull.

A spokesman for Sturgeon said it is “slightly surprising” that when two leaders are discussing such important issues the newspaper’s “main focus should be on their legs and what they are wearing.”

Former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband was among politicians who derided it. “The 1950s called and asked for their headline back,” he tweeted.

But the British Vogue said the tabloid’s latest “sexist headline” should not depress readers.

“Take a moment to consider this,” the magazine says on its website. “Don’t these women look magnificent? Don’t they, whisper it, look like women, rather than women masquerading as men? Try to take a positive out of this sticky photocall: Here are two of the most powerful women in the world, with the confidence to promote their female sovereignty. All power to them.”