The meaning of the F-word

We asked the following writers, activists and politicians the same question: if feminists could camp

Sophie Elmhirst
Selma James co-ordinator, Global Women's Strike
Rob Delaney, comedian
Julie Tomlin, writer
Jane Martinson, women's editor, Guardian
Liz Kendall, shadow minister for care
Bidisha, author of Beyond the Wall: Writing a Path Through Palestine
Tina Wallace, International Gender Studies Centre, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University
Liz Jones, columnist, Daily Mail
Louise Mensch, MP for Corby (Conservative)
Frances O'Grady, TUC deputy secretary
Rhiannon and Holly, Vagenda magazine
Naomi Wolf, author and political consultant
Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow (Labour/Co-operative)
Roz Kaveney, poet and activist
Rosamund Urwin, columnist, London Evening Standard
Julie Bindel, activist and writer
Jenni Murray, presenter, BBC Woman's Hour
Jeanette Winterson, author

This article first appeared in the 12 March 2012 issue of the New Statesman, The weaker sex

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Jeremy Corbyn fans are getting extremely angry at the wrong Michael Foster

He didn't try to block the Labour leader off a ballot. He's just against hunting with dogs. 

Michael Foster was a Labour MP for Worcester from 1997 to 2010, where he was best known for trying to ban hunting with dogs. After losing his seat to Tory Robin Walker, he settled back into private life.

He quietly worked for a charity, and then a trade association. That is, until his doppelganger tried to get Jeremy Corbyn struck off the ballot paper. 

The Labour donor Michael Foster challenged Labour's National Executive Committee's decision to let Corbyn automatically run for leadership in court. He lost his bid, and Corbyn supporters celebrated.

And some of the most jubilant decided to tell Foster where to go. 

Foster told The Staggers he had received aggressive tweets: "I have had my photograph in the online edition of The Sun with the story. I had to ring them up and suggest they take it down. It is quite a common name."

Indeed, Michael Foster is such a common name that there were two Labour MPs with that name between 1997 and 2010. The other was Michael Jabez Foster, MP for Hastings and Rye. 

One senior Labour MP rang the Worcester Michael Foster up this week, believing he was the donor. 

Foster explained: "When I said I wasn't him, then he began to talk about the time he spent in Hastings with me which was the other Michael Foster."

Having two Michael Fosters in Parliament at the same time (the donor Michael Foster was never an MP) could sometimes prove useful. 

Foster said: "When I took the bill forward to ban hunting, he used to get quite a few of my death threats.

"Once I paid his pension - it came out of my salary."

Foster has never met the donor Michael Foster. An Owen Smith supporter, he admits "part of me" would have been pleased if he had managed to block Corbyn from the ballot paper, but believes it could have caused problems down the line.

He does however have a warning for Corbyn supporters: "If Jeremy wins, a place like Worcester will never have a Labour MP.

"I say that having years of working in the constituency. And Worcester has to be won by Labour as part of that tranche of seats to enable it to form a government."