During a BBC Breakfast grilling by Naga Munchetty, Policing Minister Chris Philp was asked six times whether Rishi Sunak’s trans comments were ‘respectful’ or ‘appropriate’
A Tory minister has declined to say whether Rishi Sunak’s trans jibe at PMQs was “respectful” or “appropriate” – despite being asked SIX times.
During a grilling on BBC Breakfast, Policing Minister Chris Philp struggled to defend the PM’s comments as he was repeatedly quizzed by host Naga Munchetty. It came as the PM resisted calls to apologise for the remark on Wednesday as the mother of murdered transgender teenager Brianna Ghey visited Parliament.
At the beginning of PMQs, Keir Starmer praised Esther Ghey’s “unwavering bravery” just days after two teenagers were jailed for killing her 16-year-old daughter last year. But just minutes later, Mr Sunak accused Mr Starmer of failing to stand by his commitments and U-turning on “defining a woman”.
“Although, in fairness, that was only 99% of a U-turn,” he joked as he referenced comments the Labour leader previously made when he said 99.9% of women don’t have male genitalia.
As Tory MPs howled with laughter, Mr Starmer said: “Of all the weeks to say that when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber – shame.” Asked whether the joke was “appropriate” while Esther was in Parliament, the policing minister Chris Philp claimed on BBC Breakfast: “The PM wasn’t talking about trans issues.
“He certainly wasn’t talking about Brianna in that passage. He was talking about Keir Starmer’s record of U-turns on a whole range of different issues.” Pressed again on whether the remark was “respectful”, Mr Philp again said the PM was highlighting U-turns from the Labour leader.
In total, the Tory minister deflected the question six times and refused to say whether the comments were respectful. He added: “The Prime Minister made no reference at all to any individual trans people. It was Keir Starmer who introduced that. The Prime Minister was making a point about Labour’s very numerous flip-flops.”
Last night, Brianna’s father also demanded Mr Sunak apologise for the “degrading” remarks. Peter Spooner told Sky News: ” 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.”
Asked about the comments, Mr Philp said: “I think anyone who is interested in this issue should actually listen to the clip, listen to the initial exchange.” Pressed on whether he was suggesting Brianna’s father Mr Spooner had misunderstood the Prime Minister’s comments, Mr Philp said: “I have got every respect for, obviously, the views and feelings of a bereaved father.”
TV presenter Carol Vorderman said on Wednesday: ” Rishi Sunak should immediately resign for his sick joke mocking trans people when he knew that Brianna Ghey ’s mother was in the Houses of Parliament. The fact that the Tory benches sat laughing like a pack of hyenas tells you everything you need to know about this party.” The LGBT+ charity Stonewall added: “We call on the Prime Minister to apologise unreservedly for his comments, and for him to reflect on how careless words from those in power can and do result in harm.”