UK women condemn sexism of the 'Basic Instinct slur on lawmaker

After a newspaper published a story in which the deputy opposition leader was accused of trying to "distract the prime minister" during debates by crossing her legs and uncrossing it, women from all walks of British politics called for action Monday to combat misogyny.

UK women condemn sexism of the 'Basic Instinct slur on lawmaker

The Mail quoted an anonymous Conservative lawmaker saying that Angela Rayner, Labour Party Deputy Leader, tried to throw Conservative Prime Minster Boris Johnson "off his feet" while she sat next to him in the House of Commons. It was described as "a fully-clothed Parliamentary version of Sharon Stone's famous scene in 1992's 'Basic Instinct," in which Stone distracts interrogators and wears a short skirt.

Rayner charged "Boris Johnson’s cheerleaders" with using "desperate and perverted smears."

She wrote that she was accused of "distracting" the PM by being a woman, wearing clothes and having legs. "Women in politics are subject to sexism, misogyny and sexism every day -- and I'm not different."

Rayner, who is from northern England's working-class background, quit school at 16 to get her start in politics in the union movement. This contrasts sharply with Johnson who was educated at Eton College and Oxford University. Johnson has struggled at times to counter her attacks during debates.

The prime minister condemned it, tweeting: "Although I disagree with Angela Rayner about almost every issue political, I respect Angela Rayner as a parliamentarian, and deplore today's anonymous misogyny towards her."

Johnson stated Monday that he had spoken to Rayner about Rayner's article. He called it "the most appalling heap of sexist and misogynist trompe."

He stated that the anonymous lawmaker who made "Basic Instinct” comments would be confronted with "the terrors on the Earth" if he was identified.

Johnson stated to British broadcasters, "It's completely intolerable that kind of thing."

After more than 100 years, the first woman to be elected to Britain's Parliament is now 34% of the House of Commons' 650 legislators. Parliament, long known for its macho, boozy atmosphere, is now more diverse.

Some still believe that change has not been enough. Many U.K. female politicians stated that the article was a extreme example of the sexism they face every day.

Rachel Reeves, a Labour legislator, said that she hoped the article would make people "call out this misogyny (so), that we get some changes because Angela and no otherMP should have to endure this kind of rubbish."

Senior Conservatives condemned the comments as well. Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, tweeted that "No woman should have to tolerate this."

Caroline Nokes, a Conservative lawmaker, heads Parliament's Women and Equalities Committee. She said that she had asked Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons to censure Glen Owen the journalist who wrote the article.

Hoyle stated that he had called the editor of the newspaper to discuss the article.

Hoyle stated to lawmakers that media freedom is "one of the building blocks" of democracy, but that publishing "misogynistic or offensive" comments can "only deter women from considering running for office, to the detriment all of us."

Associated Newspapers, which publishes The Mail on Sundays, declined to comment on this topic.


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