In an awkward exchange on BBC Radio 4’sToday programme, Dame Sally was questioned about the nannying claims by Mr Robinson.
He asked her: “You always have this question, so I know you are familiar with it – this balance you have to get between nannying on the one hand, or being accused of it at least, and on the other hand banality, stating things that are obvious.”
Dame Sally shot back: “I thought you were going to be sexist.”
Robinson asked, “What bit of that is sexist?” and Dame Sally replied: “I wonder whether you would say to a male chief medical officer…”
The Today presenter clarified: “I said you are often accused of being a nanny, I didn’t say I accused you of being a nanny.”
Dame Sally responded: “Ah, clever.”
The CMO has been branded England’s “nanny in chief” by some newspapers.
Calling for action to promote healthy eating in December she said: “We have to shape it so that it’s easy to take the healthy choice.
“Do you want to call that nanny state? If so, I am chief nanny.”