Liz Kendall has won cross party praise for calling out the "everyday sexism" of Ken Clarke calling Theresa May a "difficult woman".
Clarke, a party grandee and former chancellor, made the unguarded remarks, unaware Sky News was still filming him and fellow backbencher Sir Malcolm Rifkind after they appeared on the channel.
He joked with Rifkind: "Theresa is a bloody difficult woman, but you and I worked for Margaret Thatcher."
Kendall tweeted that "difficult woman" meant she "knows her mind, un-clubby, no pushover".
This triggered Anna Soubry, the vocal Tory junior minister, to say "
Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Tories in Scotland, added: "Amen, sisters".
Kendall then tweeted: "Everyday sexism isn't confined to one party."
Davidson tweeted that Nick Timothy, former chief of staff to May, should order merchandise saying: "Cometh the bloody difficult hour, cometh the bloody difficult woman."
The hashtag #BloodyDifficultWoman began circulating, with playwright Bonnie Greer among those tweeting it.
Clarke also said of May, the long-serving Home Secretary: "She is good but she is too narrow on her department. She’s been in the Home Office far too long."
Rifkind said he did not care who the final two candidates for the leadership were provided neither was Michael Gove.
The decision to air Clarke and Rifkind's unguarded comments caused a debate about the ethics of broadcasting what politicians say when they think they are off-air.
Rifkind later told LBC he was “not in the slightest bit upset” by the leaking of the clip.
He told Iain Dale: “It all adds to the sum of human happiness!”
The Sun's Craig Woodhouse reported Clarke was similarly unphased, saying: "They're my views, aren't they?"