Corbyn says Labour will have female leader ‘one day’ as he denies ‘mansplaining’

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Jeremy Corbyn has denied he was “mansplaining” in an exchange with Theresa May.

On a visit to meet female entrepreneurs to mark International Women’s Day, the Opposition leader said he was “absolutely clear” there had to be equality in the Labour Party and insisted it would have a female leader “one day”.

Mr Corbyn revealed he was unamused by the Prime Minister’s suggestion during questions in the Commons on Wednesday that he was being patronising.

“Theresa May claimed I was mansplaining,” he told BBC Radio Derby. “What I was doing was referring to International Women’s Day and the huge contribution women make in our society.

”Actually, I think she was trying to be funny.”

Asked if it had worked, he replied: “Not with me.”

Mr Corbyn was pressed on whether he felt frustrated by Labour’s failure to have ever elected a woman leader.

He told the Press Association: “I’m the leader of the party at the moment. Obviously there are people who would like there to be a woman leader and I’ve no doubt that one day there will be a woman leader.”

He added: “We are absolutely clear that there has to be equality in the Labour Party and 61% of selections are of women-only shortlists.”

Mr Corbyn announced plans to hit large public and private employers with fines if they fail to meet gender equality rules under a Labour government.

Although employers must publish pay gap data now the Labour plan would force them to take action to close it.

Only employers that met the criteria would be considered for government procurement contracts.

Mr Corbyn visited a business centre in Alfreton, Derbyshire, where he was given a cartoon of himself calling for “llamas for everyone, not just the privileged few” and a bow tie for his cat, El Gato.