The Mail on Sunday reported some unnamed Conservative MPs as saying that Labour’s Angela Rayner had tried to put the Prime Minister “off his stride” by crossing and uncrossing her legs in the House of Commons. The article said the MPs compared the move to that of Sharon Stone’s character in the 1992 film Basic Instinct.
The story caused a fierce, wide-ranging backlash on social media, with the Prime Minister himself tweeting in support of Ms Rayner.
Boris Johnson wrote that he deplored the “misogyny directed at her anonymously” and said that while he disagreed with her on “almost every political issue”, he still respected her “as a parliamentarian”.
And Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “The sexism and misogyny peddled by the Tories is a disgraceful new low from a party mired in scandal and chaos.”
Ms Rayner dismissed it as a “perverted smear” that showed women in politics faced sexism every day.
A Downing Street source confirmed to the BBC that the Prime Minister had also contacted Ms Rayner privately by text message to reiterate what he said in his public tweet.
Technology minister Chris Philp told Sky News on Monday that Tory whips are now “looking at whether they know” who made the comments to the Mail.
READ MORE: ‘WT actual F’ Jess Phillips rages over Angela Rayner controversy
He said: “I was appalled that that sentiment was being expressed. It’s offensive, it’s misogynistic.
“The Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers have been absolutely right to roundly condemn that sentiment and to offer support to Angela Rayner on this issue
“I’ve never heard anyone say anything like that or even hinted [at] it, and if I did I would be disgusted and appalled.
“Nobody should have to suffer the kind of misogynistic abuse which that sentiment amounts to.
“If it ever comes out who said that then I imagine they would be subject to discipline.”
The Mail on Sunday has declined to comment on the article and has changed the headline to lead on the public response to the comments.
So what do YOU think? Should the Tory MPs who made the comments be named and shamed? Vote in our poll and join the debate in the comments below.