The father of murdered transgender teenager Brianna Ghey has demanded an apology from Rishi Sunak, saying he was “shocked” by the prime minister’s comments in the Commons today.
Speaking to Sky News, Peter Spooner said Mr Sunak’s remarks during PMQs, which the schoolgirl’s mother Esther attended, were “degrading” and “absolutely dehumanising”.
He said: “As the prime minister for our country to come out with degrading comments like he did, regardless of them being in relation to discussions in parliament, they are 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.”
Politics Live: Starmer meets with Brianna Ghey’s mother
Mr Sunak has been criticised for aiming a political jibe about transgender people at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
During his weekly showdown with MPs and the leader of the opposition, the prime minister said Sir Keir had broken promises on “defining a woman”.
Mr Sunak said: “We are bringing the waiting lists down for the longest waiters and making progress, but it is a bit rich to hear about promises from someone who has broken every single promise he was elected on.
“I think I have counted almost 30 in the last year. Pensions, planning, peerages, public sector pay, tuition fees, childcare, second referendums, defining a woman – although in fairness that was only 99% of a U-turn.”
Sir Keir has previously said that 99.9% of women “haven’t got a penis”.
The Labour leader, who met Brianna’s mother on Wednesday, condemned the remark, with a chorus of opposition backbenchers calling out: “Shame.”
“Of all the weeks to say that – when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber,” Sir Keir said.
“Parading as a man of integrity when he’s got absolutely no responsibility.
“I think the role of the prime minister is to ensure that every single citizen in this country feels safe and respected, it’s a shame that the prime minister doesn’t share that.”
Mr Sunak also faced calls to apologise from Labour MP Liz Twist during the session but did not directly respond to her call.
His press secretary later denied the remark was transphobic and declined repeatedly to say sorry for Mr Sunak’s language, saying it was part of a “legitimate” criticism of Labour.
She said: “If you look back on what the prime minister was saying, there was a long list of U-turns that the leader of the opposition had been making.
“I don’t think those U-turns are a joke, it is quite serious changes in public policy. I think it is totally legitimate for the prime minister to point those out.”
Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts
Brianna was murdered by Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe who stabbed her to death in a Cheshire park last February.
During the sentencing, the judge said she had taken into account the “sadistic” and “transphobic hostility” of her killers.
Mr Sunak concluded PMQs by addressing Brianna’s mother, who has been campaigning to ban children from having access to social media apps on their phones.
He said: “If I could just say also to Brianna Ghey’s mother who is here, as I said earlier this week, what happened was an unspeakable and shocking tragedy.
“As I said earlier this week, in the face of that, for her mother to demonstrate the compassion and empathy that she did last weekend, I thought demonstrated the very best of humanity in the face of seeing the very worst of humanity.
“She deserves all our admiration and praise for that.”