Rishi Sunak has again refused to apologise for making a joke about trans people after being told told the mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey was watching.
In an interview with BBC Radio Somerset on Friday morning, the prime minster was repeatedly asked if he would say sorry.
Sunak said he had “heartfelt sympathy” for Brianna’s family and friends but several times avoided the invitation to apologise.
Last week two 16-year-olds were convicted of murdering Brianna, who was transgender.
Her father, Peter Spooner, condemned Sunak’s “absolutely dehumanising” joke and asked for an apology.
Sunak said today hew as “utterly shocked” by the “horrific” murder but defended his behaviour in the Commons.
Presenter Charlie Taylor said: “You’re willing to make a joke about it while she [Brianna’s mother] was in the Houses of Parliament when it happened?
“Would you continue making jokes about trans issues in parliament?”
the prime minister said: “No that’s not what I did. It’s wrong to say that.
“What happened was a tragedy and using that to try and detract from completely separate and clear point I was making about Keir Starmer and his proven track record of u-turning on multiple policy issues because he doesn’t have a plan is both sad and wrong.”
“So you won’t apologise now?” Taylor asked during the bad tempered exchange. “Rishi there is no point doing this if you won’t listen to the questions.”
During PMQs on Wednesday, Sunak attacked Starmer for repeatedly changing his policy positions.
The prime minister said this included “defining a woman”, and added a punchline with a laugh: “Although in fairness that was only 99% of a U-turn.”
It was a reference to the Labour leader’s previous comment that 99.9% of women “haven’t got a penis”.
Sunak made the jibe despite Starmer having minutes earlier told the Commons that Brianna’s mother, Esher, would be watching the debate.