Speaking to Heat magazine, Portas said:
"If I were PM I'd bloody restyle all those women. I mean, the female cabinet, what an ugly bunch. I would restyle them. Do you know, I could not look at them. I couldn't look at them! I go in for meetings now and they do dress up for my meetings, but I just want to go, 'Pleeease. No. Not that necklace. Not that skirt.'
"You look at French women and they're, like, wow, aren't they? What do we have? I'd say let's just put a bit of sex and glamour in there."
Now, as you can't fail to have noticed, we're big fashion fans round these parts, and as such we've heard all the arguments against being interested in fashion whether they come in the form of jokey banter from a friend or an altogether more barbed exchange with a middle aged man on his third large glass of wine telling us why our interest is worthless.
One of the big-uns is the argument that 'it's what's on the inside that counts' and that's the one which is levelled either overtly or through little digs and jibes at female politicians time and time again whenever they do anything so daring as wearing a jaunty neck scarf. Do you remember the media frenzy which accompanied the sight of a pair of leopard print kitten heels on the feet of Theresa May at the Tory party conference in 2002?
So we'd like to ask a couple of questions.
First: do you actually devote any time thinking about the fashion of female ministers? Hand on heart, we don't. We're curious about the wardrobes of Sam Cam, Michelle Obama et al but it's because theirs is a role where their fashion choices are often used to convey a great deal. The female cabinet? Not so much.
Second: if we're on the subject of fashion in politics it's the gentlemen we're more concerned about. Poorly cut suits abound and heaven help us if we have to see another 'relaxed' look wherein a shirt is carefully tucked into a pair of belted chinos...
What say you?
>> Related debate: Why can't women just be women in politics?