The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) said it received more than 6,000 complaints about The Mail On Sunday’s report, which cited the claims made by anonymous Tory MPs.
Some complainants said the article breached Ipso’s code for discriminating against women, but the watchdog argued the code protects individuals rather than groups.
Ipso also said it “declined to consider” complaints made under the code’s accuracy clause, because it would need Ms Rayner’s involvement to investigate “things which Ms Rayner is claimed to have said and done”.
Angela Rayner James Manning
The April 24 story, headlined “Stone the crows! Tories accuse Rayner of Basic Instinct ploy to distract Boris”, sparked outrage across the political spectrum, with the Prime Minister describing it as the “most appalling load of sexist, misogynist tripe”.
A statement from Ipso confirmed: "Before deciding to accept complaints from third-party complaints about accuracy, we need to consider the position of the party most closely involved,” the watchdog said.
“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.”