15 minutes ago
Rishi Sunak is facing calls to apologise for a jibe about Sir Keir Starmer’s position on trans people at Prime Minister’s Questions.
The PM ridiculed the Labour leader for U-turning on the “definition of a woman”.
Sir Keir was visibly furious, saying: “Of all the weeks to say that when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber”.
Brianna Ghey’s mother Esther was not in the public gallery for the exchange but entered later.
Mr Sunak said she represented “the very best of humanity” after a Labour MP called for an apology.
Reeling off a list of what he said were Labour U-turns, Mr Sunak said Sir Keir had changed his potion on “defining a woman – although in fairness, that was only 99% of a U-turn”.
His comments, referred to an interview where Sir Keir had said “99.9% of women haven’t got a penis”.
Sir Keir hit back, saying: “Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber. Shame.
“Parading as a man of integrity when he’s got absolutely no responsibility.”
Later a spokeswoman for Sir Keir said: “We don’t think that the country wants or deserve a prime minister who thinks minorities are a punchbag.
“The comments were deeply offensive to trans people. He should reflect on his response there and apologise.”
Ms Ghey was in the Houses of Parliament to attend a debate on mindfulness in schools, organised by her local MP Charlotte Nichols.
Before the comments, Mr Sunak had been told Ms Ghey was in the public gallery watching PMQs. Ms Ghey had actually missed the opening exchanges, coming in to the session about 15 minutes after it started.
Later, Mr Sunak avoided ignored a call from Labour MP Liz Twist to “apologise to Brianna Ghey’s mother”.
But at the end of the questions session, with Ms Ghey seated in the gallery, Mr Sunak said she represented the “very best of humanity in the face of seeing the very worst of humanity”.
He repeated his comments that the murder of Brianna Ghey “was an unspeakable and shocking tragedy”.
Ms Ghey “deserves all our admiration” for showing “compassion and empathy” after her daughter, who was trans, was stabbed to death by two teenagers who had a fascination with violence.
Sir Keir will meet Ms Ghey later, at her request.
The primes minister’s press secretary has said it was “legitimate” to question Sir Keir’s position on transgender issues.
Asked if the prime minister’s comment was transphobic, the press secretary said: “I don’t accept that at all.”
2 hours ago
1 day ago