UK leader refuses to apologise for calling ruling party ‘scum’

Published September 27, 2021
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner speaks at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, England, Sept 25. — AP
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner speaks at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, England, Sept 25. — AP

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

Opinion

Awaiting orders
25 Oct 2021

Awaiting orders

Orders are given for demolition. Some structures go down. Some still stand.
Is it our own?
25 Oct 2021

Is it our own?

It is fair to ask what truly determines our success.
No-trust resolution dynamics
Updated 24 Oct 2021

No-trust resolution dynamics

It is heartening that the effort to remove a chief minister is following constitutional norms.

Editorial

25 Oct 2021

Party to a vile campaign

THE PTI government’s hostility towards the media and its intolerance for dissent is well known. The target of ...
25 Oct 2021

Financial crisis

DESPITE having progressed to ‘very good step’ and being ‘close to concluding the agreement’ a few days back,...
25 Oct 2021

Morals and Pemra

TIME and again, Pemra has come under fire for issuing arbitrary instructions to TV channels on matters ranging from...
Anti-government rallies
Updated 24 Oct 2021

Anti-government rallies

Banning a party because it can create a public nuisance sets a dangerous precedent which can be repeated to justify future bans.
24 Oct 2021

End of polio?

AFTER a long struggle, the reward is finally in sight. With only a single case of wild poliovirus reported this year...
24 Oct 2021

Heritage work

IT is encouraging that, slowly, projects of heritage conservation and preservation appear to be taking off. These...