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Opinion: Wait. What? How is Poto Williams the one apologising?


Wait. What? How is Poto Williams the one apologising?

Source: 1 NEWS

She - justly - questioned Willie Jackson's attitude towards sexual violence in a public statement, over the weekend.

The Labour MP says she regrets the way she criticised Mr Jackson over his attitude to sexual violence. Source: 1 NEWS

Now she's been forced into another public statement - and an emotional interview to boot - apologising for her behaviour.

Williams is Labour's family and sexual violence spokesperson. It's her job to challenge out-dated and abhorrent attitudes to domestic and family violence.

She should never, ever be made to feel sorry for speaking out.

And Labour should be championing MPs like Poto Williams. Brave, willing to speak their mind and stand up for the vulnerable.

Instead, Andrew Little's office appear to have humiliated her by making her publicly back down.

Is this all to protect Jackson's fragile ego? Surely, he's man enough to deal with the criticism. After all, he's accepted he did wrong by the Roastbusters victims.

Or is it more to protect Andrew Little? He's successfully glued the caucus back together. For the first time in a very long time, they look like a team.

Labour's sexual violence spokesperson, Poto Williams, says without an apology she can't support the newly announced Labour candidate. Source: 1 NEWS

Is that unity so tenuous that its members now can't be seen to disagree?

The handling of this little skirmish was cloddish. Firstly, Little misled journalists on Thursday by claiming Jackson hadn't made up his mind and this was all a rumour started by the Maori party.

Behind the scenes, Labour MPs and members were seething with rage - both over the unfair leap-frogging and the casual abandonment of the party's gender quota. The obfuscation further enraged them.

Right from the beginning, Andrew Little should have brushed off the Williams-Jackson spat. Labour is a broad church, after all. And outside of the Beltway, no one was paying that much attention.

The over-sensitive reaction has blown the story out of all proportion - and into the news bulletins for another day.

But worst of all, Labour is now the party that gagged one of its promising female MPs to spare the pride of a man who victim-shamed a teenager, live on air.

But it seems that's ok, because some commentators judge he has the 'common-touch' with voters.

And we thought "I'm sorry for being a man" was a low point.