Ms Rayner was ‘crestfallen’ by allegations of distracting the PM

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner has expressed her disgust with assertions made by Conservative MPs that she attempts to distract the Prime Minister by crossing and uncrossing her legs.

Ms Rayner told ITV that she was “really down” about the impact the report would have on her sons.

She did say, though, that the support she received from coworkers had “overwhelmed” her.

The narrative has been heavily panned, with the Prime Minister dubbing it “sexist tripe.”

Questions were being asked around the palace, a source close to the whips office, which is in charge of discipline among Conservative MPs, said that if the anonymous source was identified, action would be taken.

After receiving 5,500 complaints over the piece, the UK press regulator Ipso says it is looking into possible violations of its code of practice.

Ms Rayner “knows she can’t compete with Boris’s Oxford Union debate training, but she has other skills that he lacks,” according to an unnamed Conservative MP quoted in the article.

Tory MPs had suggested mischievously that Ms Rayner enjoyed distracting the Prime Minister when he was in the despatch box by putting on a fully dressed parliamentary version of the infamous sequence of Sharon Stone’S film Basic Instinct in 1992, the story suggested. 

The Ashton-under-Lyne MP told Lorraine that when speaking in Parliament that her focus was on “doing a good job” and that she believed she held her own against the PM.

‘It’s not cool.’

She called the piece classist, implying that she was “thick” since she went to a comprehensive school and that she was “promiscuous” for having a child at sixteen.

The Labour MP’s background was depicted as a socialist grandma who left school at 16 when pregnant and had no qualifications before becoming a care worker, according to the story.

Since then, a number of MPs have spoken out against the tone of the report.

Ms Rayner added that she was frightened of the story getting out thinking that was what people would think of her, but that the response has “heartened” her.

She went on to say that she chose to wear trousers on the programme because she felt like she was being judged for what she wore.

Earlier, James Heappey, armed forces minister, called the Conservative colleague who quoted Ms Rayner an “idiot” and claimed that people were being put off from entering politics because of their gender, adding, “That is not cool.”

“Westminster is in a bad place right now,” Mr Heappey added, adding that men needed to call this out.

Harriet Harman, the Labour’s deputy before Ms Rayner described the statements as “sexist briefing” and an age-old method to silence people… it had steeped in the concept that women should just shut up and stay at home and have no right to be in Parliament.

Eleni Kyriakou

Eleni is a journalist and analyst at Parliament Magazine focusing on European News and current affairs. She worked as Press and Communication Office – Greek Embassy in Lisbon and Quattro Books Publications, Canada. She is Multilingual with a good grip of cultures, eye in detail, communicative, effective. She holds Master in degree from York University.