Garrick Club members pledge to resign ahead of vote to allow women to join

HIGH-profile members of the controversial men-only Garrick Club have written to bosses of the London venue saying they will reason if women are not admitted after a vote next week, it has been reported.

It is understood a poll of members will be held on Tuesday (May 7) which could see women allowed to join the Garrick for the first time in its almost 200-year history.

The Garrick Club hit the headlines in March when the Guardian newspaper published a leaked list of members.

Among them were Somerset MPs Simon Hoare (Con, North Dorset) and Jacob Rees-Mogg (Con, North East Somerset).

Mr Hoare has not responded to requests for comment on his membership of the Garrick Club from your New Blackmore Vale. We have asked once again for any reaction or comments.

However, other members have spoken and on Wednesday (May 1), former BBC news correspondent John Simpson said he would step down if members did not vote to admit women.

His statement came after it was reported former Police frontman Sting, real name Gordon Sumner, Dire Straits guitarist Knoplfer and TV favourite Stephen Fry co-signed a letter pledging their resignations should the vote fail.

“Various Garrick Club members, including Sting, Mark Knopfler and leading actors and producers, have reportedly written to the club chairman saying they’ll resign if the membership doesn’t vote to accept women next Tuesday,” Mr Simpson wrote.

“Many others, like me, would also find it impossible to stay.”

READ MORE: North Dorset MP Simon Hoare reportedly member of men-only Garrick Club

The letter, to Garrick Club chair Christopher Kirker, reportedly said: “We write as Garrick members who produce/co-produce and manage over 35 current productions in the West End and regionally.

“The current very public controversy over this issue has put us all in an untenable position.

“Our relations with female artists, co-producers, authors, cast members, members of our creative teams, backstage and front of house theatre staff have all been jeopardised by the recent publicity to the point that, without serious progress being made to finally address this anomaly, we won’t feel able to continue as Garrick members.”

MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (Con, North East Somerset) is understood to be a member of the Garrick Club

MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (Con, North East Somerset) is understood to be a member of the Garrick Club and hit out at Richard Moore after he resigned his membership

After the membership list was initially revealed, head of the civil service, Simon Case, resigned his membership, as did head of MI6, Richard Moore and at least four senior judges.

In March, Mr Rees-Mogg hit out at Mr Moore on his GB News TV show, calling him “wet wipe of the week” and saying he “caved in to leftie pressure”.

Mr Rees-Mogg added: “Surely people who safeguard this country from foreign enemies are supposed to be tough and not blown over by a puff of politically-correct wind?”

Jemima Olchawski, chief executive of gender equality and women’s rights charity the Fawcett Society, told your New Blackmore Vale: “You can only come in if a man gives you permission? What place is there for that in the 21st century?.

“We talk about the establishment as an old boys’ club and this is literally a club for boys.

“Because these clubs have existed historically and because powerful people continue to be members of them, it almost makes it seem as if it’s normal to have this kind of discrimination. It isn’t acceptable.”

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.