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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 712: debated on Monday 25 April 2022

Before we start today’s business, I want to say something about the article in The Mail on Sunday yesterday about the right hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Angela Rayner). I said to the House last week, in response to a point of order about a different article, that I took the issue of media freedom very seriously. It is one of the building blocks of our democracy. However, I share the view expressed by a wide range of Members—including, I believe, the Prime Minister—that yesterday’s article, which reported unsubstantiated claims, was misogynistic and offensive. That is what we believe.

I express my sympathy to the right hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne for being subjected to this type of comment, which, in being demeaning and offensive to women in Parliament, can only deter women who might be considering standing for election, to the detriment of us all. That is why I am arranging a meeting with the chair of the press lobby and the editor of The Mail on Sunday to discuss this issue affecting our parliamentary community. I am also arranging a separate meeting—I believe we now have a time this evening—with the right hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne.