Kemi Badenoch accuses Labour of ‘weaponising’ Brianna Ghey’s murder after Starmer and Sunak clash

Kemi Badenoch has accused Labour of “weaponising” the murder of Brianna Ghey after Keir Starmer called out Rishi Sunak during Prime Minister’s Questions for making a jibe about trans people while her mother Esther was present in the Commons.

The prime minister joked during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (6 February) that the Labour leader had changed his position on “defining a woman” while accusing him of “breaking 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 percent of a u-turn,” Sunak said.

The remark alluded to Starmer’s comment last year that womanhood is “completely biological” for “99 per cent of women”. 

Starmer blasted Sunak in his reply, stating: “Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber. Shame.” He added that Sunak was “parading as a man of integrity when he’s got absolutely no responsibility.”

Now, Secretary of State for Business and Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities Kemi Badenoch has accused the Labour Party of “weaponising” the transgender teenager’s murder and using it for “political point-scoring.”

“Every murder is a tragedy. None should be trivialised by political point-scoring. As a mother, I can imagine the trauma that Esther Ghey has endured. It was shameful of Starmer to link his own inability to be clear on the matter of sex and gender directly to her grief,” Badenoch wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“As Minister for Women and Equalities I’ve done all I can to ensure we have take the heat out of the debate on LGBT issues while being clear about our beliefs and principles. Keir Starmer’s behaviour today shows Labour are happy to weaponise this issue when it suits them.”

Every murder is a tragedy. None should be trivialised by political point-scoring. As a mother, I can imagine the trauma that Esther Ghey has endured.

It was shameful of Starmer to link his own inability to be clear on the matter of sex and gender directly to her grief. (1/2)

— Kemi Badenoch (@KemiBadenoch) February 7, 2024

Sunak’s remark has been widely criticised, including by Labour MPs including Kate Osborne and Nadia Whittome.

“For the Prime Minister to make a what is a woman quip at #PMQs when Brianna’s mum Esther Ghey is in the Gallery is an absolute disgrace,” Osborne wrote on X. “Keir Starmer was absolutely right to call him out and shout shame. Rishi Sunak should be ashamed. My thoughts with Esther.”

“Absolutely sickening for Rishi Sunak to make a transphobic joke at #PMQs while Brianna Ghey’s mother is watching in the chamber,” Whittome added. “That’s all trans people are to him: an opportunity for cheap point-scoring. There are no words. What a disgrace.”

Elsewhere, LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall remarked that Sunak’s words were “careless.”

“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. 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,” a Stonewall spokesperson said.

“We call on the Prime Minister to apologise unreservedly for his comments, and for him to reflect on how careless words from those in power can and do result in harm.”

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