'Desperate, perverted smears': Fury over UK newspaper's claims against MP
Posted On April 24, 2022
A UK newspaper is under fire after publishing an article which suggested a female politician was trying to distract Prime Minister Boris Johnson in parliament by crossing and uncrossing her legs.
The article, from the Mail on Sunday, carried anonymous comments from Tory MPs which accused Labour MP Angela Rayner of using "Basic Instinct" tactics to put off the PM.
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The newspaper article and the suggestions it contained have been roundly criticised by both sides of politics as misogynistic.
The article also made comparisons with Ms Rayner's background as a former care worker, who left school at 16, with Mr Johnson's upbringing.
Ms Rayner dismissed the report as "gutter journalism" in a tweet.
"Boris Johnson's cheerleaders have resorted to spreading desperate, perverted smears in their doomed attempts to save his skin. They know exactly what they are doing. The lies they are telling," she wrote.
"The potted biography is given – my comprehensive education, my experience as a care worker, my family, my class, my background. The implication is clear."
"Women in politics face sexism and misogyny every day – and I'm no different," she said.
Mr Johnson was quick to come to his political adversary's defence.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "The sexism and misogyny peddled by the Tories is a disgraceful new low from a party mired in scandal and chaos."
Other female politicians, including Tory MPs, also spoke out in support of Ms Rayner.
Tory MP Caroline Nokes said too many female MPs of all parties had been "on receiving end of vile articles".
Ms Nokes, who chairs the women and equalities committee wrote on Twitter that she would be contacting the Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, to ask if the political editor who wrote the piece should have a press pass for Parliament.
Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson said: "I can't even believe it made it into print."