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Angela Rayner has defended calling Tories “scum” last night, saying it was her “street language”.
The deputy leader of the Labour Party launched a heated attack on Conservatives calling them “scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic”.
She made the comments at a reception for Labour members in the North West of England at the party’s conference in Brighton.
The comments sparked a backlash from Tory MPs but Rayner stood by her words this morning, saying it was “post-watershed”.
She told Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “That was post-watershed as we’d say, with a group of activists at an event last night.”
Rayner said she was trying to get across in her “passionate way” the frustration and anger people feel over Boris Johnson’s comments and actions.
Pressed on her comments, Rayner said she was talking about members of the cabinet.
She added: “Anyone who leaves children hungry during the pandemic and can give billions of pounds to their mates on WhatsApp, I think that was pretty scummy.
“Now that is a phrase, and let me contextualise it, it’s a phrase that you would hear very often in northern working class towns that we’d even say it jovially to other people.
“We say it’s a scummy thing to do. And that to me is my street language as you would say about actually, it’s pretty appalling that people think that’s okay to do.”
Last night Rayner said: “I’m sick of shouting from the sidelines and I bet youse lot are as well. We cannot get any worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolute vile…Banana Republic, vile, nasty, Etonian…piece of scum.”
I’m sure this went down well in the room but when voters look at the party that has had both female PMs, with half of the great offices of state filled by women, half by BAME, most diverse government, more gay ministers than Labour ever had etc
They’ll know she’s talking crap. https://t.co/VJP3i435gK
— James Cleverly🇬🇧 (@JamesCleverly) September 25, 2021
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps called on Rayner to apologise and said her comments were “absolutely appalling”.
The cabinet minister said: “There’s no place in public life for that sort of language, that sort of behaviour.
“I saw that she had described herself as being somebody who wanted to see a kinder kind of politics back in 2019. I’m very sorry that seems to have disappeared.”
He added: “I think it would be befitting if she actually just apologised, rather than talked around the subject.”
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly also hit back, tweeting: “I’m sure this went down well in the room but when voters look at the party that has had both female PMs, with half of the great offices of state filled by women, half by Bame, most diverse government, more gay ministers than Labour ever had etc they’ll know she’s talking crap.”