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Commons sexism row: Barry Sheerman calls Esther McVey a ‘hard-hearted Hannah’

9 March 2015

5:07 PM

9 March 2015

5:07 PM

Things became heated in the commons today after Barry Sheerman told Esther McVey to stop being a ‘hard-hearted Hannah’ during a Department for Work and Pensions questions. The incident occurred after Sheerman voiced his concerns over the department’s handling of the government’s welfare reforms.

McVey has taken none too kindly to the term, which is a reference to an Ella Fitzgerald song. The Conservative MP says that it is ‘not the first time that the opposition benches have been like this to me’.


Sheerman meanwhile insists his innocence, claiming it was not a sexist comment. ‘She has a reputation for being a very hard champion of the welfare reforms this Government has introduced and I believe it was fair comment and unfair to call me a sexist,’ the Huddersfield MP says.

As Mr S thought it best to let readers decide for themselves whether it was a sexist comment, he has included the lyrics of the song below.

In old Savannah, I said Savannah
The weather there is nice and warm
The climate’s of the southern brand
But here’s what I don’t understand

They’ve got a gal there, a pretty gal there
Who’s colder than an arctic storm
Got a heart just like a stone
Even nice men leave her alone

They call her, “Hard hearted Hannah”
The vamp of Savannah
The meanest gal in town
Leather is tough but Hannah’s heart is tougher
She’s a gal who loves to see men suffer

To tease them and thrill ’em
To torture and kill ’em
Is her delight they say

I saw her at the seashore with a great big pan
There was Hannah pourin’ water on a drownin’ man

She’s hard hearted Hannah
The vamp of Savannah, G A

The call her, “Hard hearted Hannah”
The vamp of Savannah
The meanest gal in town
Talk of your cold refrigerating mamas
Brother she’s a polar bears pajamas

To tease them and thrill ’em
To torture and kill ’em
Is her delight they say

An evening spent with Hannah sitting on your knees
Is like travelin’ through Alaska in your BVDs

She’s hard hearted Hannah
The vamp of Savannah, G A

Can you imagine a woman as cold as Hannah?
She’s got the right name, “The vamp of Savannah”
Anytime a woman can take a great big pan
Start pourin’ water on a drownin’ man

She’s hard hearted Hannah
The vamp of Savannah, G-A

Ooh, she’s sweet as sour milk

So, is Esther the ‘meanest gal in town’ or is she right to be peeved?


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