LONDON (AFP) - Boris Johnson and British MPs on Sunday (April 24) criticised a newspaper article that claimed Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner tried to put the prime minister "off his stride" during parliamentary debates by crossing and uncrossing her legs.
The Mail on Sunday said that anonymous Conservative MPs "have mischievously suggested that Ms Rayner likes to distract the PM when he is at the dispatch box by deploying a fully-clothed parliamentary equivalent of Sharon Stone's infamous scene in the 1992 film Basic Instinct".
In the scene, Stone, who is not wearing underwear, crosses and uncrosses her legs to flummox detectives during an interrogation over a murder.
Ms Rayner responded by tweeting that "women in politics face sexism and misogyny every day - and I'm no different", calling the article "gutter journalism".
Labour leader Keir Starmer tweeted that "the sexism and misogyny peddled by the Tories is a disgraceful new low," while Conservative minister Oliver Dowden told Sky News that it was a "totally ludicrous story".
Prime Minister Johnson tweeted his support, writing: "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."