IPSO have rejected more than 6000 complaints they received over the Mail on Sunday’s misogynistic article aimed at Angela Rayner – and said it won’t investigate.

The deputy Labour leader was accused of crossing and uncrossing her legs in a bid to distract the Prime Minister at the despatch box when she stands in for Keir Starmer.

The piece titled “Stone the crows! Tories accuse Rayner of Basic Instinct ploy to distract Boris” prompted fury amongst the public as well as accusations of sexism against the newspaper and the anonymous Tory MP quoted in the article.

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The press watchdog said that each complaint lodged with them will be given an individual response, but as Rayner herself had not complained about the story, they were unable to move forward.

IPSO said that as they would have to investigate things Rayner had said and done to establish the facts, that would “not be possible without her involvement”.

The standards organisation also said that the complaints which said the article was discriminatory on grounds of misogyny and classism can’t be taken forward as they “do not relate to an individual”.

They also said that many complaints stated that the article was offensive, but that newspapers “are free to publish what they think is appropriate so long as the rights of individuals are not infringed”.

The National: The article attacking Rayner was widely condemnedThe article attacking Rayner was widely condemned

IPSO, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, is the independent regulator of UK newspapers and magazines, and sets the rules for publications through its Editors' Code of Practice.

In a blog post published on Wednesday, IPSO said that they can only consider complaints from an individual personally affected by a code breach, a representative group affected by a code breach where there is substantial public interest, and third parties in relation to concerns about accuracy.

The post added: “IPSO’s regulations do not allow us to take forward complaints about issues other than accuracy from people with no connection to an alleged breach of the code.”

It continued to say that before making a decision on whether to accept complaints from third parties about accuracy, they have to “consider the position of the party most closely involved”.

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It continued: “In order to decide whether the Editors’ Code was breached, IPSO would need to investigate and make findings about things which Ms Rayner is claimed to have said and done.

“Such an investigation would not be possible without her involvement, and because of this, we declined to consider complaints made under this Code clause.

“This does not affect the ability of Ms Rayner to make a complaint on this point.”

Responding to complaints which described the article as discriminatory on the grounds of misogyny and class, Clause 12 of the Editors' Code, IPSO said: “Clause 12 is designed to protect specific individuals mentioned by the press from discrimination based on their race, colour, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or any physical or mental illness or disability.

“It does not apply to groups or categories of people.

The National: Rayner stands in for Starmer at the despatch box and has proven a challenge for the PMRayner stands in for Starmer at the despatch box and has proven a challenge for the PM

“Complainants’ concerns that the article discriminated against women in general, or was classist, did not relate to an individual.”

On the complaints which cited the article as offensive, IPSO said that the Editors' Code does not address those issues.

They continued: “It is designed to deal with any possible conflicts between the right to freedom of expression and the rights of individuals, such as their right to privacy.

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“Newspapers and magazines are free to publish what they think is appropriate so long as the rights of individuals – which are protected under the Code – are not infringed.

“We recognised that many complainants found the content of the article to be offensive or tasteless. However, this did not in itself mean that the article was in breach of the Code by reporting them.”

Read the full judgment here.