Claims that Tories accuses Angela Rayner of 'Basic Instinct' ploy to distract PM 'ludicrous', says party chair

Claims that Tories accuses Angela Rayner of ‘Basic Instinct’ ploy to distract PM ‘ludicrous’, says party chair

Claims that Conservative MPs have accused Angela Rayner of deliberately distracting Boris Johnson by crossing and uncrossing her legacy in the Commons are “ludicrous”, the party chair says.

Anger is growing over an extraordinary newspaper story that Tories liken the deputy Labor leader’s tactics to a fully-clothed equivalent of Sharon Stone’s infamous scene in the film Basic Instinct.

It has been widely condemned as blatant sexism – while also reflecting badly on Mr Johnson himself, if he cannot focus when confronted with a woman’s legacy.

But Oliver Dowden dismissed the claims, in The Mail on Sundaywhile carefully stopping short of a denial that certain Conservatives may have made the allegation.

“This is a totally ludicrous story that I don’t recognize in any way at all,” the party chair told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday program.

But Tulip Siddiq, a Labor shadow treasury spokeswoman, hit out at Mr Dowden in failing to go further in criticizing the story.

“I think he should have been stronger in condemning this,” she told the same program.

And Ms Rayner said she had no doubt that Mr Johnson himself was behind what she called the “desperate, perverted smears” – which were also targeting her working-class background.

“Women in politics face sexism and misogyny every day – and I’m no different,” she added.

“I stand accused of a “ploy” to “distract” the helpless PM – by being a woman, having legs and wearing clothes. I am conspiring to “put him off his stride”. The rest I won’t repeat – but you get the picture.”

She added: “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.

“The potted biography is given – my comprehensive education, my experience as a care worker, my family, my class, my background. The involvement is clear.

“But it is the PM who is dragging the Conservative Party into the sewer – and the anonymous Tory MPs doing his bidding are complicit.”

It was claimed that the Tories accuse Ms Rayner of using her feminine charms both when she stands in for Sir Keir at prime minister’s questions and when she sits alongside him.

“She has admitted as much when enjoying drinks with us on the [Commons] terrace,” one MP was quoted saying.

Mr Dowden also admitted that Mr Johnson’s fine for attending an illegal party is more serious than a speeding ticket – after a cabinet minister suggested the offenses are similar.

Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, was ridiculed by making the comparison, also wrongly claiming that Tony Blair was handed a parking ticket while in No 10.

But, asked if it was right to compare breaching Covid rules to a speeding offence, Mr Dowden replied: “It is not a comparison I would make.”

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