'He's Got To Apologise, Hasn't He?': Minister Squirms Over Rishi Sunak Trans Row

Chris Philp said he was "very sad" that Brianna Ghey's family were offended.

A Tory minister was left squirming on live TV as he tried to defend Rishi Sunak over the comments he made about trans people in the Commons yesterday.

The prime minister is under huge pressure to say sorry after he made a jibe about Keir Starmer’s position on gender issues while the mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey watched from the public gallery.

Sunak accused the Labour leader of changing his position on “defining a woman”, before adding with a laugh: “Although in fairness that was only 99% of a U-turn.”

That was a reference to Starmer’s previous claim that 99.9% of women “haven’t got a penis”.

In response to Sunak’s comment, Starmer hit back: “Of all the weeks to say that. When Brianna’s mother is in this chamber. Shame.”

Brianna’s father, Peter Spooner, last night said that Sunak’s comments were “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,” he said.

On Sky News this morning, presenter Kay Burley told policing minister Chris Philp: “He’s got to apologise, hasn’t he?”

The minister replied: “I think the prime minister, when asked about this later on in PMQs yesterday, paid very fulsome tribute to Brianna and her family and the courage they’ve shown in very difficult circumstances.

“I think if you listen to the actual clip of what was said earlier in that exchange, the prime minister was talking very clearly about Keir Starmer’s numerous flip-flops and U-turns on all kinds of different issues. He mentioned pensions, he mentioned peerages, he mentioned public sector pay - a whole range of different things.

“He mentioned Keir Starmer’s flip-flopping on trans issues as one of those, but he was making a point about Keir Starmer’s flip-flopping.”

Burley said “that was not how it was taken by the family” and added: “I’ve made mistakes and had to apologise, you’ve made mistakes and wanted to apologise. Why is it so hard for him to apologise?”

Philp replied: “He was talking very clearly about Keir Starmer’s flip-flops and U-turns.”

When Burley told him “the family are offended”, the minister said: “I was very sad to read those comments yesterday evening.”

He insisted the PM had “gone out of his way to pay very fulsome tribute” to Brianna’s family later in PMQs.

It later emerged that the prime minister has invited Brianna’s family to meet him in Downing Street.


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