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AA's blasted in Twitter row over 'not prioritising lone women', drawing criticism from Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield


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A Kent MP has blasted the AA after it emerged it "does not prioritise lone females" awaiting roadside assistance.

Canterbury's MP Rosie Duffield made the comments on Twitter, after a woman shared her experience of being forced to wait "alone in the dark" when her car broke down.

A row has broken out on Twitter over whether lone female drivers should be given priority for roadside recovery. Stock image: Getty Images/iStockphoto, AzmanJaka
A row has broken out on Twitter over whether lone female drivers should be given priority for roadside recovery. Stock image: Getty Images/iStockphoto, AzmanJaka

Helen Mott took to the social media platform last night to share her outrage at the AA's policy.

Addressing the firm, which provides breakdown cover to thousands in the UK, she wrote: "I am a lone woman whose car has broken down at night in the dark.

"Your call handler has told me you treat lone women and lone men as exactly the same priority in such circumstances because 'that’s equality'.

"I am pretty sure that is not equality.

"I will now wait alone in the dark for 90 minutes or more, something which as a lone woman nowhere near home is far more anxiety-provoking than it would be for a man."

The AA's official Twitter account responded saying: "Hi Helen, you've been advised correctly.

"We don't prioritise based on gender, we do consider the location so as an example we would prioritise someone on a motorway over someone in a supermarket car park."

Responding to this message on Twitter, Labour MP Rosie Duffield said she is "deeply concerned" by the policy.

She added that she plans to write to the AA "for more clarity" on behalf of female Labour MPs.

This morning, an AA spokesperson has clarified the firm's position.

A spokesperson told KentOnline: “We accept that the wording of our initial response wasn’t great and have apologised.

"In fact, we prioritise anyone at risk but more often than not it will be lone women.

"In breakdowns involving lone women where there is any concern raised by the customer they receive the highest level of care and priority.”

Ms Mott's post on Twitter sparked thousands of comments from other users who argued: "Women are at higher risk of attack than men."

One user named Richard Garside wrote: "As a male AA member I would expect you to prioritise a lone female driver over me."

Jeremy Wickins wrote: "Women are at objectively greater risk than men. Women need prioritising over able-bodied men, especially at night."

Another user said: "A man on a motorway hard shoulder is probably at less risk than a woman in a supermarket car park."

The AA's president, Edmund King OBE, also weighed in, saying the AA gives "priority to those at risk which most often is lone women".

Others felt this policy was correct, and that people should be prioritised based upon individual circumstance and risk.

Toby Brown wrote: "Men and women should be treated the same. Lone men matter too - what about disabled men? Surely they should come before able-bodied women."

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