Angela Rayner furiously criticises political sexism and misogyny

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Angela Rayner has lashed out at political sexism and misogyny after a newspaper alleged that she uncrosses and crosses her legs during PMQs to distract Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson, along with cabinet ministers and MPs from across the House of Commons slammed the Mail on a report on Sunday, which was termed as a “dirty little story” by the Conservative chair of the House of Commons women and equalities committee, Caroline Nokes.

Unnamed senior Tories are said to have “mischievously” suggested Labour’s deputy leader uses a fully dressed parliamentary analogue of Sharon Stone’s famed sequence in the 1992 film Basic Instinct, according to the newspaper.

She was aware she couldn’t compete with Oxford Union of Boris Johnson’s debating training, but she had other  skills which he lacked. She had admitted to it when enjoying drinks with them on the [Commons] terrace, a Conservative MP said, claims the article.

Rayner’s background, as a former care worker who dropped out of school at the age of 16, was compared with that of the Old Etonian PM. When Rayner steps in for Labour leader Keir Starmer against the prime minister, she is widely viewed as a strong performer.

The Mail on Sunday, according to Nokes, has a long track record of reporting nasty stories against female MPs.

She claimed to have contacted Speaker Lindsay Hoyle to ask if the author of the story, Glen Owen of the Mail on Sunday, should have his parliamentary lobby pass removed – and that her committee may look into sexism in political reporting. Owen remained silent about the subject.

Rayner retaliated against the anonymous briefing with a flurry of angry tweets on Sunday, claiming she was a victim of “sexism and misogyny.”

By being a woman, having legs, and wearing clothes, she stood accused of a ‘ploy’ to ‘distract’ the helpless PM, Rayner stated. Johnson’s supporters, she claimed, resorted to spreading desperate, perverse slander in their failed attempts to save his skin.

Clearly, he and his supporters have an issue with women in public life.  They should be embarrassed by their actions. She was  not going to let their heinous falsehoods stop her. Their attempts to harass and intimidate her would fail, she declared.

As much as he disagrees with Angela Rayner on practically every political topic, he respects her as an MP and condemns the anonymous misogyny aimed at her, Johnson tweeted on Sunday. Nadine Dorries, the cultural secretary, followed up with a similarly phrased tweet.

Oliver Dowden, the Conservative Party’s head, similarly dismissed the charges, calling them “totally ludicrous.”

He liked the Mail on Sunday and he enjoyed reading it but he thinks it was a totally ludicrous story that he failed to recognise, he said. The former leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom was in agreement, criticising the comments and reports as totally unacceptable.

In recent years, Westminster has been loaded by claims of sexual harassment and misogny, and many female MPs have said that in their workplace, they still face a sexist culture.

Kourtney Spak

Kourtney Spak is an american journalist and political commentator. Her journalism career focuses on American domestic policy and also foreign affairs. She also writes on environment, climate change and economy.