The Labour leader faced a furious backlash from Tories and his own MPs after appearing to mouth the jibe during a stormy Commons session.
In a brutal pre-Christmas exchanges, Mrs May had accused Mr Corbyn of descending into ‘pantomime’ over Brexit, saying even his own party was not behind him.
But as the PM sat down to cheers, Mr Corbyn seemed to mutter: ‘Stupid woman.’
The remark was not picked up on microphones, but politicians from both sides of the House were in little doubt what he said – as were lipreaders.
However, hauled back to the House to explain himself hours later, Mr Corbyn flatly denied uttering the words.
‘I did not use the words ‘stupid woman’ about the Prime Minister or anyone else,’ he said.
Speaker John Bercow said he had consulted ‘lipspeakers’ and they believed Mr Corbyn probably did deliver the slur, but no-one could be ‘100 per cent’ certain.
Bizarrely, Hollywood actor Rob Lowe also waded in to the row, saying he had seen the insult on TV ‘with my own eyes’.
When the slur was raised with her in the chamber, Mrs May retorted that all MPs must refer to women in an ‘appropriate’ way.
Jeremy Corbyn flatly denied saying the words ‘stupid woman’ when he was summoned back to the chamber this evening
Mrs May had said Mr Corbyn’s position as descending into ‘pantomime’, and said his own party was not behind him
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared to mouth the jibe as the pair faced off over Brexit in a stormy Commons session
The remark was not picked up on microphones, but politicians from both sides of the House were in little doubt what he said
Tory MPs beseiged the Speaker after the incident offering to show him visual evidence of what Mr Corbyn muttered
As the row caught light again this evening, Mr Bercow told MPs: ‘I have looked at the television footage of the leader of the opposition reacting to the Prime Minister, allegedly saying ‘stupid woman’ to those seated next to him.
‘Having heard the allegation against the leader of the opposition and having watched the footage it is easy to see why the leader of the opposition’s words might be construed as ‘stupid woman’.
‘That was also the opinion of lip speakers – and I emphasis lip speakers rather than lip readers – whose advice was sought and obtained at short notice.’
‘Nobody can be 100 per cent certain, that includes professional lipreaders. But I will naturally take and would be expected to take, the word of any right honourable or honourable member. ‘It’s reasonable to expect the House to do the same.’
The PMQs spat that pushed Corbyn over the edge
Corbyn: ‘There is no majority in this House for no-deal.
‘Isn’t this just a deeply cynical maneuver from a failing and utterly reckless prime minister?’
May: ‘I know it’s the Christmas season and the pantomime season but what do we see from the Labour frontbench and him.
‘He’s going to put a confidence vote – ‘oh yes he is. Oh no he isn’t’.
‘I’ve got some news for him, I’ve got some advice for him.
‘Look behind you. They’re not impressed and neither is the country.’
Corbyn: (Shakes his head and appears to mutter ‘stupid woman’.
But in an extraordinary intervention in the Commons, Tory MP Rachel Maclean responded: ‘Read my lips… I don’t believe him.’
After PMQs ended, the House descended into chaos as Tories demanded an apology.
Tory MP James Cleverly said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn clearly calling @theresamay a ‘stupid women’ at #PMQs today. This kind of misogynistic language must not be tolerated.’
Labour MP Stella Creasy said: ‘This is not ok. PMQs is a hotbed of emotions but I hope that Jeremy will accept this kind of behaviour isn’t his normal good nature or what we expect of progressive men.’
Even shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner joined criticism of Mr Corbyn.
‘I am not a lipreader, but it certainly seemed that might have been it,’ he told BBC Politics Live.
‘Jeremy is one of the most courteous people in Parliament, he hardly ever uses inappropriate language against anyone.
‘If that is what he said, I am sure he will regret it and apologise.’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote on Twitter: ‘The mask slips. Jeremy Corbyn’s abuse of the Prime Minister shows what a reactionary misogynist he is’
He added: ‘Unreal how Corbyn supporters are actually *defending* him calling the PM a ‘stupid woman’. Sickening. This misogyny now runs deep in Corbyn’s Labour – and runs right to the top.’
Despite the rebuttal, virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, who is deaf and can lipread, agreed with the interpretation.
A range of other lipreaders also concurred that Mr Corbyn had said ‘stupid woman’.
The apparent remark caused uproar in the chamber as MPs became aware of what had happened.
Tory MP Paul Scully asked Mrs May if she had noticed the comment.
Mrs May responded: ‘I think that everybody in this House particularly in the hundreth anniversary of women getting the vote should be encouraging women to come into this chamber… and should therefore use appropriate language.’
Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom raised a point of order to refer to an incident earlier this year where Mr Bercow was accused of calling her a ‘stupid woman’
Bizarrely, Hollywood actor Rob Lowe – who starred in classic US political drama the West Wing – also waded in, saying he had seen the insult ‘with my own eyes’
The remark caused uproar in the chamber as MPs became aware of what had happened
A clearly livid Mr Bercow insisted he had already ‘treated’ on the issue
A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said afterwards: ‘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.’
Supporters of the Labour leader directed a torrent of vile abuse at the party’s MPs who criticised him.
Ms Creasy highlighted a death threat she had received on Twitter, which said she was ‘lower than vermin’ and added: ‘The only good Blairite is a dead one.’
Which other MPs have been accused of sexist remarks in the Commons?
David Cameron telling Angela Eagle to ‘calm down dear’: In April 2011 the former PM was slammed for jeering at Ms Eagle as she heckled him alongside Ed Miliband.
Jeremy Corbyn ‘mansplaining’ International Women’s Day to Theresa May: The last time Mr Corbyn got into trouble at PMQs, he told Mrs May it was IWD when she had not mentioned it herself – prompting her to snap back that he did not need to remind her.
Boris Johnson calls Emily Thornberry by her husband’s name: During a furious clash, the ex-Foreign Secretary was told off John Bercow for mocking his Labour shadow as ‘Lady Nugee’ – her formal title but one which she does not use professionally.
William Hague brands a Labour MP a ‘stupid woman’: The jibe has been used before when the ex-Tory leader attacked Labour’s Cathy Jamieson in 2013. He later apologised.
John Bercow compared Esther McVey to a washing machine: The Speaker has been repeatedly accused of sexist remarks. In 2015 he cut off the then Employment Minister to quip ‘I’m reminded of the feeling when one think the washing machine will stop but it doesn’t’. He apologised.
John Bercow brands Andrea Leadsom a ‘stupid woman’: Bercow was in trouble again in May this year when he was overheard criticising Mrs Leadsom to Labour’s chief whip Nick Brown. The Commons Leader hurled it back at him during today’s furious exchanges.
Conservatives also turned their fury on Speaker John Bercow.
Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom raised a point of order to refer to an incident earlier this year where Mr Bercow was accused of calling her a ‘stupid woman’.
‘If individuals who are found to have made unwelcome remarks should apologise, why it is that when an opposition member found that you had called me a ‘stupid woman’, you did not apologise in this chamber?’
After repeated jeers and banging from Tory MPs, Mr Bercow said: ‘No no I’ll deal with the point.
‘I dealt with that point months ago in remarks that I made to the House of Commons to which Ms Leadsom in our various meetings since has made no reference and which requires from the chair today no elaboration whatsoever.’
The Speaker added that ‘the matter has been treated of and I am leaving it there’.
She said when evidence was presented that ‘you had called me a stupid woman you did not apologise in this chamber’.
But former minister Anna Soubry then rose to claim that if the Tory MP had said the same thing to a Labour MP ‘you sir would take action immediately’.
‘With great respect to the chair I have to say this, if it was one of my male colleagues on this side of the House that had used that expression against a woman on the frontbench on the Opposition you sir would take action immediately.
‘Please would you deal with it as you often do, Mr Speaker, in a fair way, but also from the point of view of women in this House who are fed up over decades of being abused by men.’
Mr Bercow, who was being shouted at and heckled by Tory MPs, responded saying: ‘I cannot be expected to deprecate the behaviour of an individual which I did not witness.’
Mrs May was not in the Christmas spirit as she headed for the PMQs bout from No10 today
Two women MPs accuse John Bercow of calling THEM ‘stupid women’ as chaotic scenes grip the Commons
A second Tory MP accused John Bercow of branding her a ‘stupid woman’ today as Andrea Leadsom led a Conservative revolt against the Speaker.
The Leader of the House seized on a furious row over Jeremy Corbyn jibing ‘stupid woman’ at Theresa May to revive the same charge against Mr Bercow.
After the Speaker warned MPs he could not sanction the Labour leader, another Tory MP Vicky Ford accused Mr Bercow of making the remark at her.
A furious Mr Bercow wagged his finger and insisted Ms Ford had never made the allegation before and that he ‘refutes it 100 per cent’.
Mr Bercow has been dogged by accusations of bullying for months and his personal feud with Mrs Leadsom has led to a deep freeze in relations with the Government.
After the Speaker warned MPs he could not sanction the Labour leader, another Tory MP Vicky Ford accused Mr Bercow of making the same remark at her (pictured(
A furious Mr Bercow wagged his finger (pictured) and insisted Ms Ford had never made the allegation before and that he ‘refutes it 100 per cent’