The prime minister teased the Labour leader about his bid for a confidence vote, with a series of panto references.
But Jeremy Corbyn did not look impressed, and although microphones did not pick up what he muttered in response, many commentators and MPs believe he mouthed: “Stupid woman”.
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A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: “He did not call her a stupid woman and so I don’t think there’s any basis for an apology. As I understand it, he said ‘stupid people’.”
The spokesman said Mr Corbyn was referring generally to MPs who were not taking the issues being debated seriously.
Asked about lip readers saying that Mr Corbyn had said “stupid woman”, he added: “Lip reading is open to doubt – he is adamant he didn’t say it.”
The Labour leader had “no time for misogynistic statements”, the spokesman said, after some Conservatives accused Mr Corbyn of being sexist.