On Sunday morning, Ms Rayner said the claims were “desperate” and “perverted” and suggested they could discourage women who want to work in Westminster.
“Women in politics face sexism and misogyny every day – and I’m no different,” she tweeted. “I stand accused of a ‘ploy’ to ‘distract’ the helpless PM – by being a woman, having legs and wearing clothes.
“I am conspiring to ‘put him off his stride’. The rest I won’t repeat – but you get the picture. Boris Johnson’s cheerleaders have resorted to spreading desperate, perverted smears in their doomed attempts to save his skin. They know exactly what they are doing. The lies they are telling.
“I hope this experience doesn’t put off a single person like me, with a background like mine, from aspiring to participate in public life.”
Oliver Dowden, the Conservative Party chairman, told the Sky News Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “This is a totally ludicrous story that I don’t recognise in any way at all.”
Jess Phillips, Labour’s shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, said she believed there was a connection between the story about Ms Rayner and a separate report in the Sunday Times that three Cabinet ministers are under investigation by a complaints body for sexual misconduct.
“The sexist stuff being said in the papers about Angela Rayner comes on same day as this story,” she said. “Has the sexist, misogynistic culture changed? Not one bit. One thing always leads to the other.”
Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, said: “Solidarity from across the political divide to Angela Rayner on this. It’s a reminder of the deep misogyny women face every day.
“Though the line about Johnson’s Oxford debating ‘skills’ is truly laughable– from what I’ve seen, she can debate him out the park!”