Harman says 'misogyny is alive and well and stalking Commons' after 'sordid' Rayner story

25 April 2022, 20:07 | Updated: 25 April 2022, 20:09

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman has said "misogyny is alive and well and stalking the House of Commons" following "sordid" claims about Angela Rayner.

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The deputy Labour leader was accused of trying to distract Boris Johnson in the Commons by repeatedly crossing and uncrossing her legs.

The Mail on Sunday sparked outrage with the report, which included a quote from an MP that Ms Rayner "knows she can't compete with Boris's Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which he lacks".

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Mother of the House Ms Harman said Ms Rayner has rightly dismissed the story as "misogyny, sexism and a lie".

"The story is that there is misogyny alive and well and stalking the corridors of the House of Commons," Ms Harman told LBC's Iain Dale.

There is "obviously a sense among the Tories that they're feeling threatened by Angela Rayner's challenge to the Prime Minster", she said.

She added: "How do they go at her, they don't have a go at her argument, they make the most ridiculous - well not ridiculous because that trivialises it - it's sordid sexual allegations and they picked on the wrong woman.

"She's not going to put up with it and we're all backing her up."

Ms Harman said there is "an increasingly vocal and growing number of woman MPs and some male MPs find that a threat".

"This is the backlash you always get when women are making progress, there are some men that feel they've got to put them back," she continued.

She also accused the Mail on Sunday of a "sort of sniggering, boysy collusion".

It comes after the Prime Minister said the Tory MP responsible will face "the terrors of the earth" if they are ever identified, a reference to King Lear.

He told reporters: "I have to say I thought it was the most appalling load of sexist, misogynist tripe.

"I immediately got in touch with Angela and we had a very friendly exchange."

He added: "If we ever find who is responsible for it, I don't know what we will do, but they will be the terrors of the earth.

"It's totally intolerable, that kind of thing."