The Daily Mail has been accused of sexism after its front page focused more on the legs of two female politicians rather than the issues at hand.

It follows a meeting between Prime Minister Theresa May and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon where the leaders tussled over the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum days before May triggers Article 50.

The meeting's impact could have staved-off the prospect of a potential break-up of the UK, however the Daily Mail instead published the headline: "Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it."

The newspaper, edited by Paul Dacre, has been previously known to run provocative headlines, but the latest move is likely to trigger an angry response from its predominantly female readership.

A Daily Mail insider told IBTimes UK: "It's moronic. You'd think as we're the only paper [in the UK] with more women readers, Dacre would know better. I genuinely just think he's starting to lose touch."

The front page also prompted a backlash on Twitter, with many accusing the paper of turning the clock back on what is acceptable by decades.

During the meeting itself in Glasgow's Crowne Plaza Hotel on Monday (27 March), May and Sturgeon largely clashed heads at their meeting as they discussed the prospect of IndyRef2.

Sturgeon fought her case for an independence referendum, but May held firm in her stance that nothing would proceed until Brexit negotiations are complete towards the end of 2019.

She also claimed May failed to offer Scotland any extra assurances about the deferral of increased powers to Holyrood.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Sturgeon said: "I had been under the impression we may be about to get some kind of offer from UK government around powers for the Scottish Government but nothing of that nature emerged," reported the Press Association.

However, the Guardian understands that the government will offer Scotland a deal on Tuesday (28 March) as Sturgeon is to open the final day of debates on referendum proposals.

Among those to criticise the Daily Mail's handling of the story include Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman and Chuka Umunna.