Rayner hits out at Tory MPs' 'desperate, perverted smears' after Basic Instinct claims

24 April 2022, 13:13 | Updated: 24 April 2022, 17:55

By Emma Soteriou

Angela Rayner has accused Tory MPs of spreading "desperate, perverted smears" about her by claiming she has sought to distract the Prime Minister provocatively in the Commons.

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Tory MPs accused the Deputy Labour leader of trying to put the Prime Minister "off his stride" by crossing and uncrossing her legs during PMQs, according to the Mail on Sunday.

It was compared to Sharon Stone's infamous scene in the film Basic Instinct.

In a series of tweets, Ms Rayner lashed out at the "lies" being briefed about her.

She said: "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 said Mr Johnson and his backers "clearly have a big problem with women in public life" and that they "should be ashamed of themselves".

"I won't be letting their vile lies deter me. Their attempts to harass and intimidate me will fail," Ms Rayner added.

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq told LBC the claims are "disgraceful" and "depressing".

Speaking on LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury Tulip Siddiq said: "I find it really hard to even comment on this because it's such a disgraceful story.

"I'm astonished they even printed it but I'm also astonished with whoever it was in the Conservative party that said it.

"What is this? What have we gone back to where we're accusing women not of being in parliament because of their merit but using their feminine attributes.

"I find it very depressing."

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Meanwhile, Tory MP Richard Holden said he thought the claims were just "tittle-tattle".

After being informed about the story by Tom, Mr Holden said: "I don't think it's up to me to comment on the way Angela Rayner conducts herself but I think this should be a battle of political ideas.

"Angela Rayner - as Deputy leader of the Labour Party - has shown herself to be an adept politician at getting what she wants out of Keir Starmer.

"I'm sure she'll be a future Labour leadership candidate - it just seems like a bit of tittle-tattle to me."

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It came after Tory MP Caroline Nokes earlier told LBC: "There's many aspects of the culture that we have to overcome, but first and foremost, it is disgraceful that colleagues are running to the newspapers with pathetic stories like this and they should be hanging their heads in shame this morning."

She added: "I don't think it is exclusively the Conservative party.

"I think all parties have a problem with women and we saw at the last election a number of high profile Labour women leave politics altogether... I sometimes bump into them and they tell me they feel nothing but relief for having done so."

The MP for Romsey and Southampton North went on to say: "It's a pervasive culture that we thought the independent complaints and grievances scheme in Westminster was designed to resolve - it hasn't.

"Stories like this, sadly, empower and encourage those sorts of cultures to continue to prevail. It's simply unacceptable."

Ms Rayner added: "I’ve been open about how I’ve had to struggle to get where I am today.

"I'm proud of my background, I’m proud of who I am and where I’m from - but it’s taken time.

"I hope this experience doesn’t put off a single person like me, with a background like mine from aspiring to participate in public life. That would break my heart.

"We need more people in politics with backgrounds like mine - and fewer as a hobby to help their mates.

"Thank you to so many of you for your messages of solidarity and support. For calling this out for what it is.

"You are making a stand in the name of decency - against those who would further coarsen, cheapen and debase our politics to benefit their own interests. We all deserve so much better."

Mr Johnson said: "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."

Ms Rayner thanked the Conservative Party leader for standing up for her.

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