Rachel Reeves reacts to ‘disgusting’ Angela Rayner story
A Mail on Sunday article claimed an unnamed Tory MP told the newspaper Ms Rayner crossed and uncrossed her legs on the Labour front bench during Prime Minister’s Questions in a bid to distract the Prime Minister. The paper likened the claims to a scene from erotic thriller Basic Instinct, claiming she was trying to put the PM “off his stride”.
Politicians from across the House have condemned the story with Mr Johnson reportedly attempting to assure Ms Rayner in a private letter that the comments were “not in his name”.
Activist Dr Shola joined the condemnation, commenting in tweet: “Boris Johnson can’t keep it in his pants so it’s Angela Rayner’s fault?! Basic Instinct?! Women fought long & hard to not be reduced to this.
“This is deeply misogynistic and sexist.”
Mr Johnson tweeted on Sunday: “As much as I disagree with Angela Rayner on almost every political issue I respect her as a parliamentarian and deplore the misogyny directed at her anonymously today.”
Dr Shola has blasted Boris Johnson over Angela Rayner
Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner on a walkabout in Ramsbottom
On Monday, technology minister Chris Philp said if the Tory MP responsible for the misogynistic comments is identified they will face serious consequences.
Mr Philp said he expected efforts would be made to find out who spoke to The Mail on Sunday’s political editor Glen Owen, but warned the chances of success were limited.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “I think that if anyone is identified having views like those that were expressed, which are just outrageous and misogynistic, then I would expect serious consequences to follow.
“I expect efforts will be made to identify who is responsible for those views. But journalists fiercely guard their sources and I doubt Glen Owen will be volunteering that information.
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Chris Philp in the House of Commons
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves
“I think there is ongoing, active work to make sure anyone holding offensive views, including the misogyny we saw demonstrated over the weekend, is called out and action is taken.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for an end to the “misogynist” culture at Westminster on Monday.
Sir Keir told ITV’s This Morning there would be zero tolerance for such attitudes in his party.
He said: “It is rank sexism, rank misogyny. [Angela Rayner] was really disgusted that all of her political attributes were put aside for this ridiculous, offensive story.
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Twitter following by political party
“She shouldn’t have to put up with it but all women in politics shouldn’t have to put up with it. Almost every woman in politics has had an element of this in some shape or form.
“We have got to change the culture. The culture in Parliament, it is sexist, it is misogynist. We need to change it.
“That is what Angela said to me. She used this expression, she said ‘It triggered something in me about the way women are seen in politics’.”
He added that he needed to look at the issue within his own party wherever it is seen, adding: “We will be absolutely on it with zero tolerance. There shouldn’t be a party political divide on this.”
Angela Rayner takes part in a panel discussion
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves called for the vetting process for MPs to be improved.
Asked if she believed there should be an internal investigation, Ms Reeves told Sky News: “Yeah – I mean, I think that too many people think this sort of thing is just acceptable so it’s got to be called out and right from the top.
“But there are just too many stories and not just of sexism, but also things like… we’ve got a Conservative MP in Wakefield who’s been convicted of sexual offences against a child. He’s still a Member of Parliament. He hasn’t handed in his resignation yet.
“You know, we’ve got to sort out Parliament so that the vetting system of who can be an MP is improved, the processes within parties improved, but also to make Parliament more welcoming for people, including women.”
Imran Ahmad Khan MP denied the allegation of sexually assaulting a teenage boy in 2008, but was convicted at Southwark Crown Court. He plans to appeal the conviction.
Mr Khan was thrown out of the Conservative Party after the verdict and announced he would be standing down.
Express.co.uk has approached Mr Khan for comment.
The comment comes as The Sunday Times reported three Conservative cabinet ministers and two Labour shadow cabinet ministers have been reported to a parliamentary watchdog dealing with complaints against MPs.
It said they are among 56 MPs referred to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme in relation to about 70 separate complaints.
The allegations range from making sexually inappropriate comments to more serious wrongdoing with at least one complaint believed to involve criminality and an allegation an MP “bribed a member of staff in return for sexual favours”.