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Rishi Sunak makes ‘callous’ trans jibe while Brianna Ghey’s mother present in Parliament

Composite of Rishi Sunak and Brianna Ghey and Esther Ghey
Rishi Sunak has been criticised for making offensive comments about trans people in the presence of Esther Ghey (Image: BBC News; Family handout)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been criticised for ridiculing Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on the “definition of a woman” while murdered trans teen Brianna Ghey‘s mother was present in the Houses of Parliament.

Listing his criticisms of the Labour leader during Prime Minister’s Questions today (7 February), Sunak said: “I think I 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.”

Sunak was referring to a statement made last year by Sir Keir that “99.9% of women haven’t got a penis.”

A visibly furious Sir Keir responded by saying to the chamber: “Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber. Shame.

“Parading as a man of integrity when he’s got absolutely no responsibility.”

Brianna Ghey’s mother, Esther Ghey, was believed to have been in the public gallery at the time, though BBC News says that she entered after the conversation took place.

“For the prime minister to use trans people as a punchline, in front of the grieving mother of a murdered trans child, was cheap, callous and crass” – Stonewall spokesperson

After calls from MPs in the chamber to apologise, Sunak later responded by directly apologising to Ms Ghey, though totally mispronouncing her late daughter’s surname as “Grey” (Ghey is prounounced phonetically as ‘jh-eye’).

A Stonewall spokesperson has called on the prime minister to “reflect on how careless words from those in power can and do result in harm.”

“For the prime inister to use trans people as a punchline, in front of the grieving mother of a murdered trans child, was cheap, callous and crass. The disrespect and dehumanisation of trans people that we see played out daily in the media and in our political discourse has real life consequences and it has to stop,” they said.

Brianna Ghey was stabbed 28 times during a “frenzied” attack in Warrington’s Culcheth Linear Park on 11 February, 2023. Teenagers Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe were found guilty of Brianna’s murder in December and sentenced earlier this month.

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