MP Angela Rayner, who has been on the receiving end of misogyny by an anonymous Tory MP this month, has written to Boris Johnson demanding answers
MP Angela Rayner, who has been on the receiving end of misogyny by an anonymous Tory MP this month, has written to Boris Johnson demanding answers over the alleged mock award.
The Deputy Labour leader called for Number 10 to answer a string of questions including whether an award presentation took place, who presented it, who was given it, and whether the Prime Minister approved.
In a tweet, Ms Rayner wrote: “I have just written to the PM on the @thesundaytimes revelation that a ‘Sexist of the Year’ award was presented at a Downing Street Xmas party.
“Boris Johnson must answer why sexism in his office appears to be celebrated and rewarded. The public have a right to the truth”.
Ms Rayner wrote to the PM after an insider allegedly told the Sunday Times a member of staff was singled out for the award during a lockdown party on December 18, 2020.
The paper printed the claim on Sunday, but the article has since been deleted. The events that occurred and the exact name of the award are understood to be disputed.
In her letter to Mr Johnson, she wrote: “It has already been established that there were a number of events in Downing Street that were illegal under the lockdown rules in place at the time, but this raises further questions about the conduct of senior political figures during the course of these events that deserve an urgent response from you.
“You have claimed on the record this week that there is ‘no place’ for sexism in politics, and yet there are now serious and credible allegations in the Sunday Times that sexist behaviour has not only taken place in your own office but has been celebrated and rewarded.
“You are ultimately responsible for the culture and activity that takes place within Downing Street under your administration.
It continues: “If true, these allegations are not only at odds with your professed opposition to sexism but set a terrible example and must result in further action.
“Please could you confirm what action will now be taken? Given the seriousness of the new revelations in today’s Sunday Times and the serious matters and questions arising, I look forward to your speedy response.”
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Speaking to The Times, she said: “I am as tough as they come. I genuinely do not care when pathetic little men, who want to make themselves feel more important, choose to use misogynistic nicknames and smears to damage me.
“The thing that worries me is that it would hurt, upset and damage a less robust individual. If it’s ok to have a crack at me, the logic would be it’s also ok to level that smear and hideous belittling at other colleagues.”
Ms Rayner, who is demanding answers over the misogynistic award ceremony, faced claims from an anonymous Tory MP that she attempts to put the PM “off his stride” by simply crossing her legs in the House of Commons.
Dawn Butler, Labour’s former shadow minister, said it was Ms Rayner’s “words not legs that get him rattled the most”.
She added: “It’s never what a woman wears that causes a man to offend or attack her. If the Tories don’t understand that they should step down and take some consent classes. This is why rape convictions are so low.”