Angela Rayner claims 'basic instinct' article insinuates 'she must be thick and promiscuous'

Ms Rayner alleges the article looks down on her for going to a comprehensive school and having a child when she was 16

Published

Angela Rayner has hit out at the sexism and classism she says were behind a newspaper publishing “disgusting” claims by Tory MPs that she tries to distract Boris Johnson with her legs.

The deputy Labour leader said she was “crestfallen” to learn of the claims that she tries to distract the Prime Minister in the Commons by crossing and uncrossing her legs, but feels “heartened” by the public’s overwhelming rejection of the article.

She said on Tuesday that the Mail on Sunday went ahead with publishing the article based on comments from anonymous Conservatives despite pleas that they were “completely untrue”.

Angela Rayner
Angela Rayner
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show.

The article included a quote from one MP, saying Ms Rayner “knows she can’t compete with Boris’s Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which he lacks”.

Ms Rayner said: “I’ve been overwhelmed because when I heard the story was coming out and we rebutted it instantly… like this is disgusting, it’s completely untrue, please don’t run a story like that.”

The Labour frontbencher said she was “really down” about the article and had to prepare her children for its claims.

She said that “all I worry about when I’m at the despatch box is doing a good job and being able to do justice to my constituents and the work I’m doing, so I was just really crestfallen that somebody had said that to a paper and a paper was reporting that”.

“It wasn’t just about me as a woman, saying I was using the fact I’m a woman against the Prime Minister – which I think is quite condescending to the Prime Minister and shows you what his MPs think about his behaviour – but it was steeped in classism as well,” she added.

She also told ITV's Lorraine the article insinuated she must be “thick” because she went to a comprehensive school and she is “promiscuous” because she had a child when she was 16.