Angela Rayner refuses to apologise for calling Tories 'scum' and 'racist'

26 September 2021, 10:06 | Updated: 26 September 2021, 14:58

Angela Rayner defended her comments, saying they were made "post-watershed".
Angela Rayner defended her comments, saying they were made "post-watershed". Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner has refused to apologise for comments referring to members of the government as "scum".

Ms Rayner reportedly told an audience at the Labour Party conference that the government is made up of "a bunch of scum" that are "homophobic, racist, misogynistic".

The Deputy Leader has defended the comments, saying they were made to an audience of Labour activists "post-watershed".

She said this morning: "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 added: "I am not saying that anyone who voted for the Conservatives are racist, scummy and homophobic.

"I’m saying the Prime Minister has said those things and acted in that way.

"If the Prime Minister wants to apologise and remove himself from those comments he’s made that are homophobic, racist and misogynistic then I will apologise for calling him scummy."

Read more: Starmer comes under fire over potential new party reforms ahead of Labour conference

Her comments come after Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer backtracked over plans to reform the party's leader electoral system.

Government minister Amanda Milling has condemned the comments as "shocking".

Meanwhile, Conservative chairman Oliver Dowden said: "At a time when the country is trying to pull together to recover from Covid, the last thing we need is the deputy leader of the Labour Party calling people 'scum' and yelling insults.

"We need to make politics better, not drag it into the gutter. Let's see if we get an apology."

Read more: Nandy refuses to defend Rayner after she blasts senior Tories as 'scum'

Current Labour frontbencher Lisa Nandy said it is "completely up to" Ms Rayner whether she apologises over the remarks but told LBC it is not the kind of language she herself would use.

But John McDonnell defended Ms Rayner, saying that "deep down she's expressing the anger many of us feel".

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that he would not have used the same words as his deputy leader but did not call for her to apologise.

The Labour Party conference began yesterday and will run until September 29.