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

‘It’s rank sexism, rank misogyny,’ Labour leader says

Keir Starmer says 'sexist' culture in Parliament has to change

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.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in