Angela Rayner has revealed that she asked the Mail on Sunday not to publish the incendiary ‘Basic Instinct’ story.
Speaking to Lorraine Kelly on ITV’s Lorraine, Rayner – the deputy leader of the Labour Party – spoke about the impact the story had upon her and her family.
She said she “rebutted it instantly”, adding that it was “disgusting” and “completely untrue”.
“I was with my teenage sons and I felt really sad again that my weekend,” she said. “I was trying to prepare my children to see things online about them, they don’t want to see their Mum portrayed that way. I felt really down about that.”
The article said: “Tory MPs have mischievously suggested that Ms Rayner likes to distract the PM when he is in the dispatch box by deploying a fully-clothed Parliamentary equivalent of Sharon Stone’s infamous scene in the 1992 film Basic Instinct.”
The paper added: “It is also suggested she employs the tactic when sitting next to Sir Keir when he faces Mr Johnson at PMQs” and quotes an MP as saying: “She knows she can’t compete with Boris’s Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which he lacks.
“She has admitted as much when enjoying drinks with us on the [Commons] terrace.”
Revealing the impact the story has had on her, Rayner said she “consciously” thought about what she was going to wear on Lorraine after the newspaper used an image from her last This Morning appearance.
“I consciously today felt that I wanted to put some trousers on today,” she said.
“I wanted to be defiant as well because I don’t think women should be told how to dress but I didn’t want to distract from the fact that actually, it’s not about my legs. I didn’t want people at home thinking let’s have a look to see what her legs are like or how short her skirt is or not.
“I feel like I’m being judged on what I wear rather than what I’m saying to you.”
But, she added: “I felt overwhelmed by the response afterwards because I felt really fearful of the story coming out thinking that’s what people think of me and then actually the response from the public from all political parties from leadership across the whole political spectrum has been to condemn it and that’s heartened me.”