Angela Rayner says ‘sexist’ and ‘classist’ Mail article implied she was ‘thick’-.mp4
Indy

Angela Rayner has revealed how she asked the Mail on Sunday not to publish the offensive story about her Basic Instinct 'plot' last weekend.

Speaking on ITV's Lorraine show with Lorraine Kelly, the deputy leader of the Labour Party spoke about the impact the story about her "distracting" prime minister Boris Johnson with her legs had had on her, and said she had asked the paper not to publish it.

She said she "rebutted it instantly" and said it was "disgusting" and "completely untrue" before explaining the impact it had on her children.

"I was with my teenage sons and I felt really sad again that my weekend... I was trying to prepare my children to see things online about them, they don't want to see their Mum portrayed that way. I felt really down about that."

It comes after the paper really ran a story last weekend claiming unnamed Tory MPs say Rayner distracts the PM with her legs.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

The article said: "Tory MPs have mischievously suggested that Ms Rayner likes to distract the PM when he is in the dispatch box by deploying a fully-clothed Parliamentary equivalent of Sharon Stone's infamous scene in the 1992 film Basic Instinct."

The paper added: "It is also suggested she employs the tactic when sitting next to Sir Keir when he faces Mr Johnson at PMQs" and quotes one MP as saying: "She knows she can't compete with Boris's Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which he lacks.

"She has admitted as much when enjoying drinks with us on the [Commons] terrace."

The widely criticised article also described the Labour MP's background as "a socialist grandmother who left school at 16 while pregnant and with no qualifications before becoming a care worker".

She also said she felt the claim was "condescending to the prime minister which shows you what his MPs think about his behaviour" and that the story was "stepped in classism" given its references to her upbringing and her education.


Rayner added that she had thought "consciously" about what she wore to appear on the show because the Mail article had used an image of her from her last This Morning appearance.

"I consciously today felt that I wanted to put some trousers on today," she said.

"I wanted to be defiant as well because I don't think women should be told how to dress but I didn't want to distract from the fact that actually, it's not about my legs. I didn't want people at home thinking let's have a look to see what her legs are like or how short her skirt is or not.

"I feel like I'm being judged on what I wear rather than what I'm saying to you."

However, the response to the story has been largely positive, she said. She added: "I felt overwhelmed by the response afterwards because I felt really fearful of the story coming out thinking that's what people think of me and then actually the response from the public from all political parties from leadership across the whole political spectrum has been to condemn it and that's heartened me."

On Monday afternoon Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told the Commons he felt the article was “misogynistic and offensive” and that he was arranging a meeting with the chair of the press lobby and Mail on Sunday editor David Dillon.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)