The company’s Dolly Babe will no longer be for sale, although the equivalent boys’ shoe, Leader, is still available

Clarks are withdrawing a school shoe for girls called “Dolly Babe” after it provoked accusations of sexism, especially as the equivalent version for boys is called “Leader”. Both shoes are made from black leather, but the Dolly Babe has the added cloying detail of a pink insole printed with hearts, while the version for boys – which remains on sale – has a football detail.

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, was among many who found the firm’s choice of design barely credible. “It is almost beyond belief that in 2017 a major company could think this is in any way acceptable. Shows what we are still up against,” she tweeted.

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