Mail on Sunday editor summoned over ‘misogynistic’ Rayner article

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Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner suffered ‘misogynistic tripe’ according to Boris Johnson (PA) (PA Wire)
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner suffered ‘misogynistic tripe’ according to Boris Johnson (PA) (PA Wire)

The ‘mysogony’ storm over claims about Angela Rayner grew on Monday when House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle summoned the editor of The Mail on Sunday to discuss the article.

The newspaper sparked a major backlash from across the political spectrum yesterday after it reported claims by an anonymous Tory MP that Labour’s Deputy Leader attempts to put off Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions by crossing and uncrossing her legs.

Mr Johnson sent the deputy Labour leader a letter on Sunday stating the story was “not in his name” and expressed his sympathy over the anonymous attack.

On Tuesday afternoon Sir Lindsay joined the chorus of condemnation over the article and revealed he would be meeting with the newspaper’s editor David Dillon and the chair of the Parliamentary Press Gallery Andy Woodcock, a journalist with the Independent.

Expressing sympathy to Ms Rayner, MP for Ashton under Lyme, Sir Lindsay said the comment was “demeaning” and “offensive to women in Parliament”.

He went on: “It can only deter women who might be considering standing for election to the detriment of us all. That is why I have arranged a meeting with the chair of the press lobby [and] the editor of the Mail on Sunday to discuss the issue effecting our Parliamentary community.”

While the article has been widely criticised, the move is likely to raise concerns over media freedom. On Sunday Tory MP Caroline Nokes, chair of the womens and equality committee, wrote to Sir Lindsay urging him to look at whether the journalist who wrote the story should have his Parliamentary pass confiscated.

Before revealing the meeting with the Mail on Sunday over the ‘Basic Instinct’ article, Sir Lindsay said: “I said last week in response to a point of order about a different article that I took the issue of media freedom very seriously. It is one of the building blocks of our democracy.

“However I share the views expressed by a wide range of members including I believe the Prime Minister that yesterday’s article was reporting unsubstantiated of mysoginistic and offensive, those are what we believe.”

He added that he would be meeting with Ms Rayner on Monday evening.

Earlier the Technology minister Chris Philp said he was “appalled” by the report in the Mail on Sunday and had “never heard anything” like the claims being expressed.

He also said that the MP who briefed the claim about Ms Rayner will be disciplined if caught.

“Nobody should have to suffer the kind of misogynistic abuse that sentiment amounts to,” Mr Philp told Sky News. “I think [Government whips] will be looking at whether they know who said this.

“I think everybody is appalled by the misogynistic sentiment.”

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said Ms Rayner does not need to “use her sex” to win an argument at the despatch box.

“I’m afraid that this story just shines a spotlight on the sort of rubbish that female MPs and other women in Parliament have to put up with on a day-to-day basis and it’s got to be called out because Angela Rayner is a fantastic politician and she takes on the Prime Minister when Keir (Starmer) is not available at the despatch box and she does it brilliantly,” she told the BBC.