LONDON: The deputy leader of Britain’s main opposition party refused on Sunday to apologise for calling the governing Conservatives “scum”.
Labour Party lawmaker Angela Rayner called members of the government “a bunch of scum homophobic, racist, misogynistic (persons)” during a reception on Saturday at the party’s annual conference.
The comment drew a reprimand from Labour leader Keir Starmer, who said he would not use such language and would talk to Angela about it later.
Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden said politicians should make politics better, not drag it into the gutter. “Let’s see if we get an apology.”
But Rayner defended the comments, saying she had used street language to convey frustration with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government.
“Anyone who leaves children hungry during a pandemic and can give billions of pounds to their mates on WhatsApp, I think that was pretty scummy,” she told Sky News, referring to controversies over support for poor families and the awarding of government contracts during the pandemic.
Rayner said she would only apologise if Johnson said “sorry for his past comments that are homophobic, that are racist, that are misogynistic”.
Johnson has a long record of offensive comments, including calling Papua New Guineans “cannibals” and comparing Muslim women who wear veils to “letter boxes”.
The left-of-centre Labour Party is holding its annual convention in the English seaside city of Brighton, seeking to chart a way back to power after more than a decade in opposition.
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2021