Geri Halliwell sparks backlash after hugging Tory MP Nadine Dorries at Euro 2022 final

Geri Halliwell is seen embracing Nadine Dorries

Spice Girls star Geri Halliwell has left a bad taste in fans’ mouths after being seen hugging Conservative MP Nadine Dorries at the Euro 2022 final between England and Germany.

The singer featured in a selfie posted on Twitter by the Tory lawmaker on Sunday (31 July). It shows the two hugging during the historic football match with the caption: “Girl power radiating from Wembley tonight.”

The photo lead to widespread backlash from Spice Girls fans who were disappointed that Halliwell would openly embrace the controversial MP.

“My thoughts tonight are with all the 40-year-old gays who have just had to say goodbye to Geri Halliwell,” said one user, with another responding to the tweet referencing the time the pop star said that ‘Margaret Thatcher was the original Spice Girl’.

Geri Halliwell tweeted that anti-LGBTQ+ former prime minister Thatcher was “our first lady of girl power” after she died in 2013. She later deleted the tweet and apologised for the offence it had caused, saying in a blog post that she “had obviously upset a lot of people”.

Another user referenced the fiasco in a tweet, saying: “Not sure why anyone’s surprised at Geri Halliwell cosying up to Nadine Dorries. She once said Thatcher was the original Spice Girl.”

Others were quick to point out that Halliwell endorsing a Conservative politician isn’t anything new, with one user saying: “Why are we pretending Geri Halliwell never oozed big Tory energy anyway?” Another said: “People will seemingly never stop being surprised that Geri Halliwell is a Tory, even though she must have said it at least 50 times now.”

Dorries has become an ever-increasingly controversial figure since her appointment as minister for mental health, suicide prevention and patient safety in 2019 until her shift to the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport in 2021.

She was criticised during her time as minister for mental health for refusing to participate in cross-party talks on issues facing the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, telling the shadow mental health minister Dr Allin-Khan to “try harder” to win an election. During the same year, she was criticised for sharing a video that falsely claimed Keir Starmer had obstructed the prosecution of grooming gangs when he led the Crown Prosecution Service.

More recently, the MP has taken aim at trans participation in sporting events. She told representatives from several different sports on 18 June that trans women competing alongside cis players is “inherently unfair”.

“We can’t pretend that sex doesn’t have a direct impact on a person’s athletic performance,” she said in a tweet. “Asking women and teenage girls to compete against someone who was biologically born a male is inherently unfair.”

However, experts in the field, such as endocrinologist Dr Ada Cheung, have criticised the line of thinking. Cheung told Sydney Morning Herald on 21 June that “the science is not clear” after swimming’s governing body International Swiming Federation (FINA) effectively banned trans women from elite competition.

“We actually don’t know if there’s a biological advantage for transgender women over cisgender women,” she said. “FINA’s report is really based on a group of people’s opinions, it’s not a gold standard.”