Angela Rayner maintained her description of the Tories as “homophobic, racist, misogynist … scum” after the Labor leader distanced himself from his comments.
Amid tensions with Starmer over the party’s proposed rule changes on Sunday, the Deputy Leader of the Labor Party declined to apologize for her remarks, which were made at a Labor conference reception the day before .
“We can not do worse than a bunch of homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolutely vile scum… banana republic, vile, nasty, Astonish… piece of scum,” she said during the event, before d ‘add that she had “held back a little”.
His remarks drew criticism from some conservatives, while two shadow cabinet ministers – Lisa Nandy and Ed Miliband – said they would not use the same terms.
But speaking on Sunday, Rayner defended his comments as being made in the “street language” of his working-class roots in the north.
Rayner said she would only apologize if Boris Johnson apologized for past comments he made “which are homophobic, which are racist, which are misogynistic” – a reference to the Prime Minister’s previous comments, notably comparing Muslim women wearing the burka to “letterboxes” and describing gay men as “tank top tramp boys”.
The Deputy Leader of the Labor Party said her comments, made at an ‘after the turn’ reception, were an attempt to convey the ‘anger and frustration’ felt about Johnson and the cabinet. “Anyone who leaves kids hungry during a pandemic and can donate billions of pounds to their friends on WhatsApp, I think that was pretty crappy,” she told Sky News.
Starmer told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that “Angela and I take different approaches, and that’s not a language I would use.”
Rayner was defended by John McDonnell, the former shadow chancellor, who suggested that she should not have used the language she did, but that “deep down she is expressing the anger that many ‘between us feel’. “We’ve all been there, late at night, very angry with what’s going on. What I love about Angie Rayner is that she is human, ”he said.
Oliver Dowden, the Tory co-chair, said: ‘At a time when the country is trying to pull itself together to recover from Covid, the last thing we need is the deputy leader of the Labor Party calling people’ scum ‘and shouting insults. We need to improve the policy, not drag it down the drain. Let’s see if we get an apology.
James Cleverly, a foreign ministry minister, said voters would see a Conservative party that had two women prime ministers and the “most diverse government” and “they will know it’s bullshit.”
However, complaints about Rayner’s language were undermined by remarks from a Tory MP who suggested that a bomb should be planted in the office of Anneliese Dodds, the leader of the Labor Party.
James Gray, a Conservative veteran from North Wiltshire, said he did not want to offend the comment he posted to a WhatsApp group ahead of the opposition conference in Brighton, which is the scene of a bombshell of the ‘IRA which targeted the Conservatives’ conference in 1984.
In the exchange, first reported by the Mail on Sunday, Tory MP Robert Largan asked: “Does anyone know where Anneliese Dodds’ commons office is based? I have to deliver something to his office. Gray replied, “A bomb, maybe? He later apologized for what he said was a “foolish remark”.
Dodds said this raised concerns for the safety of politicians. “I would say that the larger issue of security for everyone in politics is very important,” she said. “I believe that all parliamentarians should commit to ensuring that everyone can be involved in public life without any fear of intimidation or violence.