arol Vorderman has called on the women’s minister to resign after she could not “be bothered to turn up” to a committee hearing about the menopause – but the politician has accused the TV presenter of not dealing in facts.
Maria Caulfield took to Twitter a day after the Women and Equalities Committee session to say she had been unable to attend as she was with campaigners at a meeting “which had been in the diary for months”.
The MP, who is also minister for women’s health strategy, tweeted that she was “not a punch bag” and said anyone who posted “misleading information” about her would be blocked on the social media platform.
Former Countdown star Vorderman posted a screenshot on Twitter indicating she had been blocked by the Government minister, and wrote: “Maria, note some respect & RESIGN.”
When challenged by another Twitter user about blocking Vorderman, Ms Caulfield replied: “She hasn’t pointed out facts. I couldn’t attend yesterday as I was seeing women campaigners against painful hysteroscopy which had been in the diary for months. I maintain given alternative dates to the committee and they are the facts.”
The committee said it had invited Ms Caulfield to appear before members to discuss the Government’s plans for action on menopause in the workplace “but the Minister refused the invitation”.
It is understood the committee received a response from the minister on the dates she was available only after the letter they wrote to her, dated March 10, was posted on Twitter on March 17.
The committee is believed to maintain contacted her a number of times before that to procure a date agreed for a hearing.
Committee chairwoman Caroline Nokes confirmed at the stay of Wednesday’s session that Ms Caulfield is expected to appear for a hearing in June.
Earlier during the session both Vorderman and fellow presenter Mariella Frostrup expressed their annoyance at Ms Caulfield not being “bothered to turn up”.
Vorderman said she had seen Ms Caulfield “having a cup of tea” in Portcullis House that day, adding “that’s not much of an example, is it?”
Frostrup told the MPs the current situation on menopause and women’s rights in the workplace feels like “treading water which is only heightened by the fact that the minister can’t be bothered to turn up”.