Brianna Ghey’s father demands apology from Rishi Sunak over Keir Starmer transgender jibe

Wednesday 7 February 2024

The father of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey has demanded an apology from Rishi Sunak after he made a “dehumanising” transgender joke in the Commons while the victim’s mother visited Parliament.

Peter Spooner said he was “shocked” by the jibe made during Prime Minister’s Questions, in which the PM accused Sir Keir Starmer of having difficulty in “defining a woman”.

The remarks have prompted an immediate backlash, but Mr Sunak has refused to apologise, with Downing Street later insisting the comments were “totally legitimate” and denying they were transphobic.

Mr Spooner told Sky News: “As the Prime Minister for our country to come out with degrading comments like he did, regardless of them being in relation to discussions in Parliament, they are absolutely dehumanising.

“Identities of people should not be used in that manner, and I personally feel shocked by his comments and feel he should apologise for his remarks.”

In an exchange with the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister had said: “We are bringing the waiting lists down for the longest waiters and making progress, but it is a bit rich to hear about promises from someone who has broken every single promise he was elected on.

“I think I have counted almost 30 in the last year. Pensions, planning, peerages, public sector pay, tuition fees, childcare, second referendums, defining a woman – although in fairness, that was only 99% of a U-turn.”

'Shame on you Keir Starmer!' Julia Hartley-Brewer appalled by Labour leader's jibes at Rishi Sunak in front of the mother of Brianna Ghey

Sir Keir, who met Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, on Wednesday, condemned the Prime Minister’s remark, with a chorus of opposition backbenchers calling out: “Shame.”

“Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber. Shame,” Sir Keir said.

“Parading as a man of integrity when he’s got absolutely no responsibility.”

Number 10 declined repeatedly to apologise for Mr Sunak’s language and said it was part of a “legitimate” criticism of Labour.

Mr Sunak’s press secretary said: “If you look back on what the Prime Minister was saying, there was a long list of U-turns that the leader of the opposition had been making.

“I don’t think those U-turns are a joke, it is quite serious changes in public policy. I think it is totally legitimate for the Prime Minister to point those out.”

“It is clearly part of what happens in the chamber, at Prime Minister’s Questions, to point out the U-turns an opposition leader has made,” she added.