Brianna Ghey, a 16-year-old trans woman, was fatally stabbed almost a year ago in Culcheth by Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe, who were both sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday. Transphobia was named as a partial motivation in the murder
On Wednesday February 7, during the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQ) that took place in the House of Commons, comments were made which are now being called a ‘jibe’ towards transgender women. Not even a week after the sentencing of Brianna Ghey’s murderers, the Prime Minister is already being asked to apologise for his comments. Brianna’s father, Peter Spooner has since stated that the “dehumanising” comments made in parliament should be apologised for by the Prime Minister.
Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, questioned Rishi Sunak about the failure to cut down hospital waiting lists. Sunak then responded by saying, “It’s a bit rich to hear about promises from someone who’s broken every single promise he was elected on. 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.”
This then prompted Starmer to reply, “Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in the chamber. Shame.” What Sunak was allegedly referring to was Keir Starmer’s statement last year in which he controversially said, “99.9% of women “don’t have penises.”
Esther Ghey, Brianna’s mother, has yet to comment about the remark, instead choosing to focus on making a change to honour her daughter. Although Esther wasn’t actually in the chambers when this happened, Starmer still referenced her presence. The PM went on to say that Esther Ghey “deserved all our admiration and praise,” but failed to acknowledge his “jibe”. Brianna’s father, however, demanded that Sunak “should apologise for his statements.”
Both Conservative MPs and opposing members have commented on the remarks Sunak made at the PMQs. Jamie Wallis, a backbencher for the Conservative party, who is the United Kingdom’s first publicly trans-MP, seemed disappointed, “I know from my own interactions with the Prime Minister that today’s display of insensitivity must have been inadvertent.”
Another member of the Conservative party, Dehenna Davis tweeted, “Given some of the terrible incidences of transphobia we have seen lately, this need for respect feels more crucial than ever. That’s why it was disappointing to hear jokes being made at the trans community’s expense. Our words in the House resonate right across our society, and we all need to remember that.”
However, many people have pointed out the stance Rishi Sunak holds towards the trans community, in October, he claimed, “A man is a man and a woman is a woman. That’s just common sense,” which resulted in mass amounts of backlash. Sunak isn’t the only Tory MP who has resorted to transphobia though, Suella Braverman, Home Secretary, said: “Trans women have no place in women’s wards [...] biological men should not have treatment in the same wards and in the same safe spaces as biological women.”
Social media users have not held back when expressing their opinion on the comments made by Sunak, and the laughter coming from members of his political party after they were said. This also follows a £1,000 bet Sunak made with Piers Morgan recently to get people on flights to Rwanda before the next General Election.
Edited by Chloe Mansola
Image ‘Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visits Border Force in Dover’ by Number 10 licensed by CC BY 2.0
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