Rayner did make PMQs leg-crossing comments, Tories say

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They told the BBC she had “made the comments” to an unnamed Tory MP, who passed them on to the Mail on Sunday.

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But a Labour source said Ms Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, had not “initiated these vile sexist smears”.

The Conservatives have concluded their investigation into the matter.

A senior party source told the BBC: “Following the Mail on Sunday Rayner story [published last week] queries were made about who the Conservative MP was that supposedly made the comments.

“During those queries it was found that Rayner had made the comments [to the MP] herself.”

But, asked about this, a Labour source replied: “The idea that Angela initiated these vile sexist smears shows just how far Conservative MPs will go to avoid talking about tackling the cost of living.”

Rayner: I was crestfallen after Basic Instinct claim
MPs hit back at misogyny faced by Rayner
The Mail on Sunday’s story, published on 24 April, quoted an unnamed Conservative MP claiming Ms Rayner would cross and uncross her legs when sitting opposite Mr Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions in order to distract him.

“She knows she can’t compete with Boris’s Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which he lacks,” the MP was reported as saying.

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

The newspaper also said: “Conservative MPs suggested Ms Rayner likes to distract the prime minister when he is at the despatch box by deploying a parliamentary equivalent of Sharon Stone’s infamous [leg-uncrossing] scene in the 1992 film Basic Instinct.”

MPs across the political spectrum criticised the newspaper, with Mr Johnson himself describing the story as “sexist, misogynist tripe” and threatening to unleash the “terrors of the earth” on the anonymous source of it.

Ms Rayner has repeatedly denied making the comments attributed to her by the Mail on Sunday, saying she feels “crestfallen”.

“I won’t be letting their vile lies deter me,” she said. “Their attempts to harass and intimidate me will fail.”

House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle asked the Mail on Sunday’s editor to a meeting to discuss the article, but he declined the invitation.