Keir Starmer says ‘sexist’ culture in Parliament has to change after Angela Rayner story

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Sir Keir Starmer has insisted the whole culture of Parliament must change after the treatment of Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, claiming: “It’s sexist, it’s misogynist”

The Labour leader’s remarks came after MPs across the political spectrum condemned claims made about Ms Rayner by an unidentified Conservative politician in the Mail on Sunday.

The newspaper had quoted an anonymous MP claiming the party’s deputy leader crossed and uncrossed her legs in the Commons chamber to distract Mr Johnson during prime minister’s questions.

Addressing he the report, Sir Keir told ITV’s This Morning: “It’s rank sexism, rank misogyny. She was just really disgusted that all of her political attributes were just put aside for this ridiculous, offensive story.

“She shouldn’t have to put up with it, but all women in politics shouldn’t have to put up with it. Almost every woman in politics has had an element of this in some shape or form”.

He said it was “up to” the Conservative Party what action they could potentially take, but stressed: “I actually think it’s a culture thing and therefore going after one or two individuals isn’t enough.

“We have got to change the culture. The culture in Parliament — it’s sexist, it’s misogynist and we need to change it.

“That is what Angela said to me. She used this expression, she said ‘It triggered something in me about the way women are seen in politics’.”

The Labour leader added: “The culture of the whole place has to change. We all have to play a part in that. The first thing we have to do is call this out obviously for what it is.

“I need to look at it within my own party wherever we see it. We will be absolutely on it with zero tolerance. There shouldn’t be a party political divide on this.”

In response to the story, Boris Johnson said: “As much as I disagree with Angela Rayner on almost every political issue I respect her as a parliamentarian and deplore the misogyny directed at her anonymously today”.

The prime minister was later by reported by the Daily Telegraph to have messaged to the Labour frontbencher, insisting the “misogynistic” claims made about her were “not in his name”.

On Monday, culture minister Chris Philp said that if the Conservative MP responsible for the misogynistic comments about Ms Rayner is identified they will face “serious consequences”.

“I think that if anyone is identified having views like those that were expressed, which are just outrageous and misogynistic, then I would expect serious consequences to follow,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“I expect efforts will be made to identify who is responsible for those views. But journalists fiercely guard their sources and I doubt Glen Owen [Mail on Sunday political editor] will be volunteering that information.

“I think there is ongoing, active work to make sure anyone holding offensive views, including the misogyny we saw demonstrated over the weekend, is called out and action is taken.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting