Speaking Sunday to the BBC, Harman, who has begun a second week in charge of Downing Street as Prime Minister Gordon Brown takes a month-long holiday, said: "I don't agree with all-male leaderships. Men cannot be left to run things on their own. I think it's a thoroughly bad thing to have men-only leadership," The Times of London reported.
The remarks from Harman, Britain's Equality Minister, were seen as an attempt to position herself to remain in the Labor Party's top leadership following the next general election, analysts said. But a comment suggesting the Whitehall office she inherited from her predecessor, John Prescott, was "so big" because he is a man drew an angry response from him.
The Times quoted Prescott as writing in his blog: "Quotes like this just raise leadership issues once again just at a time when we should all be pulling together and defending our record. Success doesn't come from saying all-male leaderships are bad and trying to change party rules to ban all male leadership."