Brianna Ghey's father demands apology from PM after transgender jibe in Commons

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 on Wednesday.

Speaking to Sky News, Peter Spooner said Mr Sunak's remarks during PMQs, which the schoolgirl's mother Esther Ghey 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 Brianna Ghey's mother

Mr Sunak has been criticised for aiming a political jibe about transgender people at Sir Keir Starmer, saying the Labour leader had broken promises on "defining a woman".

The prime minister has refused to apologise.

However, it is understood Brianna's family has now been invited to a meeting about online safety - which her mother is campaigning to improve - with Mr Sunak and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan.

During the exchange with Sir Keir, 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.

Tory MPs criticise Sunak's remarks

He has even faced criticism from within his own ranks, with former junior minister Dehenna Davison saying it was "disappointing to hear jokes being made at the trans community's expense" and warning in a post on X that "our words in the House resonate right across our society".

Speaking on Times Radio, former Tory business minister Jackie Doyle-Price said it was "careless" and "very ill-judged" for Mr Sunak to use the joke "in that context", but also accused critics of having "weaponised" it.

Mr Sunak's 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."

Treasury minister Laura Trott also told the Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge she did not think the prime minister had done anything wrong, adding: "What the prime minister was talking about today was absolutely nothing to do with this case."

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Brianna, 16, was murdered by Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe who were both 15 when the schoolgirl was stabbed to death in a Cheshire park last February.

Last week, Jenkinson was jailed for at least 22 years and Ratcliffe for a minimum of 20 years. The pair, who are both 16, will be transferred to adult prisons when they turn 18.

During the sentencing when they were named for the first time, 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.

Read More:
Rishi Sunak may be forced into an apology for clumsy 'defining a woman' attack line
Read Brianna Ghey's family's impact statements

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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."