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Angela Rayner attacked 'for being a woman', according to Sunderland MP, as calls grow for 'real action' on misogyny

Political leaders in the North East have demanded “real action” to combat sexism, amid outrage over accusations about Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner.

By Daniel Holland and James Harrison
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 8:53 am

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Claims made by anonymous Tory MPs and reported in the Mail on Sunday suggested the Ashton-under-Lyne MP tries to distract Boris Johnson in the House of Commons by crossing and uncrossing her legs.

The report has sparked widespread condemnation this week, with Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle even attempting to meet bosses from the newspaper to quiz them over the story.

But for Bridget Phillipson, Houghton and Sunderland South MP and Rayner’s front bench colleague, it was another example of the regular attacks faced by women in and outside of the public eye.

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She said: "The attack on Angela Rayner, for being a woman, for wearing clothes, for having legs, was just vile.

"It was another example of the misogyny and sexism which is too often a part of life for too many women in this country.

"There should be no place for sexism, for misogyny, or for looking down on people because of where they come from, in modern Britain."

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner.

Rayner, who was elected Labour’s deputy leader in 2020, said on Tuesday that she was left “crestfallen” by the “completely untrue” claims about her.

The article included a quote from one MP, saying the Labour deputy “knows she can’t compete with Boris’s Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which he lacks”.

The Prime Minister has pledged that those behind the accusations will face “the terrors of the Earth” if they are identified.

Bridget Phillipson MP.

Kim McGuinness, the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), has called on men to “take responsibility” for combating misogyny, but also conceded she was “not surprised” by the claims about Rayner.

McGuinness, who was described as a “Barbie doll” by one of her opponents shortly after her 2019 election, said: “People are saying in large numbers that it is not acceptable and that there is no place for it in our democracy and our society.

"But it has to translate into real action.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness.