The prime minister’s remark drew fierce criticism from opposition parties and some Conservatives. Starmer told Sunak: “Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber. Shame.”…reports Asian Lite News
Rishi Sunak has refused to apologise to Brianna Ghey’s father and said it was “sad and wrong” to link his jibe about transgender people to the murdered teenager’s case.
The prime minister doubled down on his comments on Thursday morning, saying it was “the worst of politics” to link them to the trans teenager’s case.
Sunak has been urged to apologise after accusing the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, of having difficulty “defining a woman” at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday. He made the remark after he was told by Starmer that Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, was in the public gallery.
Brianna’s father, Peter Spooner, said Sunak’s comment had been “dehumanising” and urged him to apologise. Brianna was lured to a park in Cheshire and murdered by two teenagers in February last year.
On a visit to Cornwall, Sunak told reporters: “Like everyone, I was completely shocked by Brianna’s case. To have your child taken from you in such awful circumstances is almost impossible to come to terms with, and for Brianna’s mum to talk with such empathy and compassion about that, I thought, was inspiring and it showed the very best of humanity. I’ve nothing but the most heartfelt sympathy for her entire family and friends.”
“But to use that tragedy to detract from the very separate and clear point I was making about Keir Starmer’s proven track record of multiple U-turns on major policies, because he doesn’t have a plan, I think is both sad and wrong, and it demonstrates the worst of politics.”
The prime minister’s remark drew fierce criticism from opposition parties and some Conservatives. Starmer told Sunak: “Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber. Shame.”
Asked to respond to Spooner’s request for an apology, Sunak said his comments had been “absolutely legitimate”. “If you look at what I said, I was very clear, talking about Keir Starmer’s proven track record of U-turns on major policies because he doesn’t have a plan.”
Earlier on Thursday, the policing minister, Chris Philp, said Sunak was “very keen” to meet Brianna’s family. Esther Ghey wrote on Peace & Mind UK, the Facebook page she set up for a campaign in her daughter’s memory, that she did not “wish to comment on reports of wording or comments recently made. My focus is on creating a positive change and a lasting legacy for Brianna.
“Through Peace & Mind, we want to improve lives by empowering people, giving them the tools they need to build mental resilience, empathy and self-compassion through mindfulness. In developing these skills, I hope that we can create a more understanding, peaceful and stronger society for everyone.”
Several Tory MPs have criticised Sunak’s remark. The former minister Paul Scully told the BBC’s Politics Live: “If it was me, I would probably pick up the phone to Brianna’s father, frankly.” Another former minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, told Times Radio that while she advocated balancing transgender rights with the protection of single-sex spaces, Sunak’s comment “trivialises something that’s very important” and was “frankly very ill-judged”.
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