Amber Rudd and Mary Beard among seven women nominated for membership of all-male Garrick Club

29 March 2024, 09:50

Amber Rudd and Mary Beard have both been nominated to the Garrick Club
Amber Rudd and Mary Beard have both been nominated to the Garrick Club. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Former Conservative Home Secretary Amber Rudd and classicist Mary Beard are among seven notable women who have been put forward for membership of the all-male Garrick club.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Broadcaster Cathy Newman, Labour peer Ayesha Hazarika, actress Juliet Stevenson and Globe Theatre chairwoman Margaret Casely-Hayford are also among those put forward by a group of current members, as revealed by the News Agents' Emily Maitlis.

The Garrick has been embroiled in a row over its men-only membership rules in recent weeks, after the 200-year-old club's membership list was made public.

Other prominent members include King Charles and Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, as well as former England football manager Roy Hodgson and actors Stephen Fry and Brian Cox.

Sir Richard Moore, the head of MI6, Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and several judges have since resigned from the club.

Read more: 'If men want to get together in a club, it's up to them': Ben Wallace says Garrick Club members should be 'left alone'

Read more: MI6 chief and civil service boss end Garrick Club membership after criticism over its exclusion of women

'Nonsensical' for elitist clubs to shut down, Melanie McDonagh tells Matthew Wright

The club held a vote on female membership in 2015 in which a very small majority voted in favour. This was not enough, as a change would have required the backing of two-thirds of the membership.

Ms Dodds, asked if she would want to join the Garrick, told LBC's Matthew Wright on Friday: "Personally, no. That's not really how I would want to spend my time."

Juliet Stevenson
Juliet Stevenson. Picture: Alamy

Pointing to the issue of women-led start-ups receiving less financing than those founded by men, the Labour Party chairwoman said: "You need to have more women involved in those decisions about where investment goes.

"But, of course, we could wait for a very, very long time until we got there. So, actually, a big part of the solution has got to come from the men of course, the overwhelming majority of whom, I believe, want to see a more equal future.

Margaret Casely-Hayford
Margaret Casely-Hayford. Picture: Getty

"They want to make sure there's opportunities out there. And certainly in our economy, they know that makes pretty hard-headed economic sense, because if you're not backing women in our economy, then you're going to have less growth.

"Surely we've got to have both. We've got to have women and working-class people, we've got to have minority people, we've got to have them in those powerful positions. But everyone also has got to be working towards pulling down barriers."

The club is said to be considering new legal advice on whether women should be admitted.

Ben Wallace on the Garrick Club

Ben Wallace, the Conservative former defence minister, told LBC earlier this month: I just wish people would all be left alone."

He added that the debate on single-sex members' clubs restarts every few years.

"There are plenty of all-male clubs, and there are actually all-female clubs out there," he told Nick.

Other London men-only clubs in London include the Travellers Club and White's - from which David Cameron resigned his membership over its no-women membership policy. The University Women's Club does not allow men to be members.