John Mcdonnell has refused to apologise to Esther McVey for having called her a “stain on humanity” and for joking that she should be lynched.
On ITV’s Peston on Sunday, when asked if he wanted to retract his comments about McVey, who was also in the studio, he replied that he had been angry, and that “sometimes you just have to express honest anger”.
He said that he had been quoting someone else, but said he had been goaded into it by the “appalling” treatment of disabled people by the last government.
Later in the programme Yvette Cooper said that McDonnell’s refusal to take back the comments was “wrong”. “It’s really not ok”, she said.
McVey hit back at McDonnell, saying “this is a man who links violence with politics”.
She accused him of “whipping up” antisemitic and misogynist abuse on social media, saying “this is a man who talks about politics through threats, violence and bullying”.
McDonnell made the remarks about lynching McVey at a Stop The War comedy night on Remembrance Sunday in November.
He told the audience that activists were arguing that rather than get McVey out of her seat, they should lynch her.
The Tories condemned it as a ‘violent attack’ on a female MP.
In response the Labour party tweeted: “John McDonnell’s comments, if accurately reported, don’t represent the views of the Labour Party. He speaks for himself.”
McDonnell said “All I’m saying is don’t blame me for simply repeating what some of Esther McVey’s constituents have said at a public meeting.”
Since then he has rejected several calls to apologise or retract the remarks, saying it was a joke.