LONDON, UK – Chancellor Rishi Sunak has accused Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of engaging in “the worst of politics” by exploiting the tragedy of Brianna Ghey in a heated exchange in the House of Commons. Sunak’s remarks came after Starmer criticized Prime Minister Boris Johnson for making a joke about his “definition of a woman” on the same day Brianna’s mother was present in Parliament. The father of the murdered transgender teenager called on Sunak to apologize. However, the prime minister declined to do so and instead labeled Starmer as “sad and wrong.”
Sunak defended his comments, describing them as “absolutely legitimate” and separate from the tragedy of Brianna Ghey. He accused Starmer of using the tragedy to divert attention from his record of multiple U-turns on major policies. The contentious exchange occurred during Prime Minister’s Questions when Sunak listed several Labour U-turns, including Starmer’s stance on “defining a woman.”
The situation escalated as Starmer responded by denouncing the prime minister’s integrity and lack of responsibility. He remarked that it was inappropriate for Sunak to make such comments when Brianna’s mother was present in the chamber. Sunak’s refusal to apologize has sparked further controversy.
Brianna’s mother, Esther Ghey, was not in the public gallery during the exchange between the two leaders. She arrived shortly after the incident. Emma Mills, Brianna’s former headteacher, who was accompanying Esther during her visit to Parliament, stated that they missed the context and details of what was said. Mills added that Esther would take some time to understand the situation.
Brianna Ghey, a sixteen-year-old transgender girl, was brutally murdered after being lured to a park and stabbed 28 times by teenagers Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe. The prime minister’s comments have raised concerns about insensitivity and the need for reflection.
Leader of the House, Penny Mordaunt, has defended Sunak as a “good and caring man,” suggesting that he has reflected on his comments. Mordaunt also called for Starmer to reflect on his actions. The government maintains that it has prioritized women’s safety and dignity while seeking to provide certainty and support for transgender individuals. Accountability for the opposition’s policy inconsistencies and U-turns is also emphasized.
As the controversy continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how this exchange will impact the political discourse surrounding transgender rights and the conduct of lawmakers. The incident has renewed calls for greater sensitivity and understanding in political debates.