‘Sad’ move to make Brit Awards gender-neutral will hurt women, says Nadine Dorries

Nadine Dorries has branded the decision to remove male and female categories at the Brit Awards “sad”, fearing that the move could have a negative impact on the representation of women.

The British Phonographic Industry, which organises the awards, announced that it would scrap gendered categories such as Best Male and Best Female Solo Artist in favour of combined prizes in future, a move which follows criticism of the awards for excluding non-binary artists.

However, the Culture Secretary criticised the decision and has raised concerns that female representation could be adversely affected by removing a women-only category.

Facing questions from the Commons digital, culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday, she said: “I think it sounds quite a sad decision. I would like to see how that would work in terms of fair gender representation.

“If I wanted to look at who used to win at awards for novels, and many things in the past, men always dominated. My concern would be that women weren’t being fairly presented moving forward.

“I would just be concerned on the gender balance issue, whereas we know we’re going to get best female artist, best female producer, whatever. I’d be concerned that in the future, women weren’t fairly represented at these awards.”

Sam Smith, here winning two Brit Awards in 2015, previously called on the ceremony to be ‘reflective of the society we live in’

Credit: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

The awards has previously been criticised by Sam Smith, who identifies as non-binary and who wrote in a now-deleted tweet that they should be “reflective of the society we live in”.

The Culture Secretary was questioned on her own activity on Twitter, but said she would not be answering questions on online posts “from 12 years ago”.

Asked about her use of the term “snowflake leftie” online, and asked to tell the committee what a “snowflake leftie” was, she replied: “Probably my kids.”

Ms Dorries also told MPs that she faced criticism online from a “vocal number” of “wholly men” when she was appointed to her current position.

She said: “I think there were a number of people who sadly used my appointment as a means of political attack and that did happen. Were these people quite obviously on the left? Yes.”

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