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Boris Johnson has spoken out against “misogny” being directed at the deputy Labour leader from within Tory ranks.
The Prime Minister took to Twitter on Sunday amid a growing storm over comments about Ms Rayner in a Sunday newspaper article.
They compared Ms Rayner to Sharon Stone’s character in the film Basic Instinct because she crosses her legs in the House of Commons.
“As much as I disagree with @AngelaRayner on almost every political issue I respect her as a parliamentarian and deplore the misogyny directed at her anonymously today,” Mr Johnson wrote.
Ms Rayner responded by retweeting the PM’s message with the words: “Thank you”.
Earlier Ms Rayner condemned accusations in the Mail on Sunday that she deliberately tried to distract Mr Johnson at the dispatch box by crossing and uncrossing her legs.
She expressed her anger at the “perverted smears” on Sunday morning.
“I stand accused of a ‘ploy’ to ‘distract the helpless PM. By being a woman, having legs and wearing clothes I am conspiring to ‘put him off his stride’,” she said.
“But it is the PM who is dragging the Conservative Party into the sewer - and the anonymous Tory MPs doing his bidding are complicit."
Women in politics face sexism and misogyny every day - and I’m no different.
This morning’s is the latest dose of gutter journalism courtesy of @MoS_Politics
— Angela Rayner 🌹 (@AngelaRayner) April 24, 2022
“He and his cheerleaders clearly have a big problem with women in public life. They should be ashamed of themselves.”
She added that women in politics face “sexism and misogyny every day” but that she would not allow “their vile lies deter me”.
Conservative Party chair Oliver Dowden also dismissed the claims on Sunday morning.
“This is a totally ludicrous story that I don’t recognise in any way at all,” he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
However, Shadow Treasury Tulip Siddiq criticised Mr Dowden for failing to issue a “stronger” condemnation.
She told the show: “I feel like I can’t even read and look at it because this story is so disgraceful. I’m quite upset because I heard what Oliver Dowden said and I think he should have been stronger in condemning this.
“At the end of the day Angela Rayner is an MP who got elected on merit. To talk about the fact that she is using her legs or her posture to manipulate the prime minister is ridiculous…we’ve got to make Westminster more welcoming for female MPs.”