What Is Boris Johnson’s Voting Record On Women’s Issues?

He's our Prime Minister now, but what does he think about abortion rights, tampon tax and maternity leave?

Ian Forsyth / Stringer

by Chloe Collins |
Updated on

Yup! That’s right, to absolutely no-one's surprise, Boris Johnson has won the Conservative leadership and is now the Prime Minister, inheriting an agenda full of EU negotiations and the Irish backstop.

But, where does our new PM stand on women’s rights? We don’t know much about his policies going forward, other than that he’s prepared to go through with a no-deal Brexit if it comes to it, and he’s planning some tax cuts. So we took a look at what he’s said in the past, to try and gauge how he’ll be when it comes to things that will have a lasting impact on the women in this country. Here’s what he’s said over the years.. and how he’s actually voted.


Boris Johnson hasn't voted on anything abortion related in Parliament since 2007. It’s unclear where he stands on abortions because he’s neither abstained or publicly engaged on the topic. However, regarding abortion rights in Northern Ireland, Johnson said earlier this month ‘I think it’s a matter for the people of Northern Ireland and one of the most important reasons for getting the Stormont Government back up and running.’

Tampon tax

In 2015 Boris was one of 305 MPs who voted against an amendment to remove tampon tax on female sanitary products.

On the other hand, tampon tax has occasionally be held up as one of the small positives to be found in Brexit, as the tax is a European measure. And as we all know, Boris loves Brexit.

Same-sex marriage

Much like his views on abortion, Johnson has never voted on allowing marriage between two people of the same sex. Despite being Mayor when gay marriage was legalised, he’s remained absent on several key votes surrounding gay rights and same sex marriages, only voting to repeal a ban on the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

In his 2001 book Friends, Voters, Countrymen he wrote ‘If gay marriage was OK - and I was uncertain on the issue - then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog.’

Equal pay and maternity leave

According to his voting record, Johnson has steered clear of voicing his opinion on the gender pay gap or taken any kind of stance on maternity rights and maternity leave. He has, however, stated ‘where there are barriers – be they in pay, discrimination, against women on maternity leave, or the hidden inequalities of the health system – my Government will call them out and do something about them’ when responding to a letter from the Conservative Women in Parliamentary Group (CWIPG).

The only things he did, seemingly, vote on in this area were against an assessment of the impact of Government policies on women, against publishing a gender equality strategy, against annual reports on the gender pay gap and against making recommendations to close it.

Given that Boris hasn't voted on much since he's been eligible, and that we know politicians occasionally say things that they don't totally mean, we’re still a bit confused about where he stands when it comes to these important issues, but can only hope they’re as much of a priority as Brexit and the Irish backstop

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