ONE of Portsmouth’s top councillors has called on people to burn their John Lewis loyalty cards after the store decided to create gender-neutral children’s clothes.
The comments come after the UK department store revealed it would dump the ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ label from its range of clothing.
John Lewis sparked controversy after ditching the labels and marketing all clothes as childrenswear instead of having items with a single gender.
The move has angered Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, who took to Facebook to express his fury.
Writing on the John Lewis Facebook page, Cllr Stubbs reacted to a customer who had been upset by the high street giant’s change.
‘How do I cancel my store membership reward card, I will not support a store that bows down to such pc claptrap,’ the customer said.
Responding, Cllr Stubbs wrote: ‘I agree with you. John Lewis has turned itself into a contemptible politically correct joke.
‘My advice? Try and get a few people together then film yourself burning them and send it to the media.
‘Also, make a point of writing to the store and tell them you will never use them again. I don’t shop there anyway, but if I did I’d be an ex-customer now.’
The Conservative councillor has since defended his comment.
Speaking to PinkNews, Cllr Stubbs said: ‘My comments relate to the store’s policy of marketing skirts, dresses and bras to boys.
‘My opposition to this is shared by a majority in this country, yet a loud, but tiny fringe that seeks to eliminate gendered behaviour is setting the agenda.
‘I would encourage John Lewis customers to send the store a clear message and if that includes destroying their loyalty cards then so be it.’
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the former city council leader, critised Cllr Stubb’s comments.
The Liberal Democrat said: ‘I’m not sure it is sensible for politicans who are not parents to wax lyrical on things where it’s down to parents or kids to find out.
‘When I go shopping with my niece and nephew they look for clothes that they like.
‘If kids don’t like the changes, they won’t shop at John Lewis. But politicians should butt out.’
The high street chain revealed its change last week.
Caroline Bettis, head of childrenswear at John Lewis, said: ‘We introduced new non-gender specific John Lewis stitched labels and combined ‘Girls & Boys’ swing tags to clothing for John Lewis own label collections in 2016.
‘We do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections and instead want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers, so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear.’
The News has approached Cllr Stubbs for comment.