Labour shadow minister branded 'shameful' for using Prince Philip's resignation to make political point

Kate McCann
Chi Onwurah - 2016 Getty Images

A Labour shadow minister has been branded "shameful" for using the Duke of Edinburgh's decision to retire to promote a campaign about pension inequality. 

Chi Onwurah was forced to defend her decision to tweet about Prince Philip's announcement after Conservative candidate Nadhim Zahawi called on her to apologise for the remarks. 

Ms Onwurah tweeted: "Congratulations to Prince Philip on retiring in financial security at time of his choosing from a job he enjoys #forthemanynotthefew #waspi."

The Labour leader Credit: PA

"Waspi" refers to the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign which aims to highlight concerns that some women born in the 1950s will be forced to work longer than their peers.

Mr Zahawi, the Conservative candidate in Stratford-upon-Avon, said he was "shocked" by the shadow business minister's remark.

He tweeted: "That is shameful & wrong. I am truly shocked by your comments. The Royal family should be kept out of politics. I hope you will apologise."

Nadim Zahawi Credit: Telegraph

Andrew Rosindell, Conservative candidate for Romford, added: "I am disgusted by the comments made by Jeremy Corbyn's Labour candidate, Chi Onwurah, to imply Prince Philip is not a dedicated public servant. 

"Prince Philip has gone 30 years beyond retirement age carrying out hundreds of engagements every year across Britain and indeed the world. 

"Yet along with Jeremy Corbyn's demand to scrap the monarchy, and his refusal to sing the National Anthem, one of his frontbenchers has now put out this tasteless comment." 

Ms Onwurah, Labour's shadow business minister before the dissolution of Parliament, later defended her actions by tweeting: "I have huge respect for Prince Philip & the Royal family, but also want others to enjoy same freedom of retiring when & how they choose..."

Prince Philip Credit: Reuters

She told The Daily Mail: "I just don’t understand how that’s taken as being critical. "What I was trying to say is wouldn’t it be great if everyone could make this same kind of contribution to the public or private sector that Prince Philip has been able to make over such a long time, and to be able to choose how and when they do that."

Her remark followed Prince Philip's decision to announce his retirement from Royal duties later this year, although he added that he may still attend some events from time to time. 

He will be 96 later this year. 

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