‘I made mistakes but I apologised’: Gordon Brown wades into row over Sunak's trans jibe as PM refuses to say sorry

8 February 2024, 18:23 | Updated: 8 February 2024, 18:39

Gordon Brown urges Sunak to apologise for Sunak trans jibe

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Gordon Brown has waded into the row over Rishi Sunak's refusal to apologise after his trans jibe at PMQs, telling LBC's Andrew Marr: ‘‘I made mistakes...but I apologised.’’

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The Prime Minister accused Sir Keir Starmer of 'not knowing what a woman is' at PMQs on Wednesday, in front of the mother of murdered trans teenager Brianna Ghey.

Sir Keir immediately rebuked Mr Sunak, telling him his comments were "shameful".

Pressure has been building on Mr Sunak to apologise, but he has refused, telling reporters earlier today that his comments had nothing to do with Brianna's murder - despite her dad calling on him to say sorry.

Former Labour Prime Minister and Chancellor Gordon Brown has waded into the row, telling LBC's Andrew Marr that Mr Sunak will be thinking today about whether he should have said sorry.

‘‘Look, you know, because you were covering things at the time. I made mistakes, but I think – and everybody does make mistakes – but I made mistakes,’’ Mr Brown told LBC.

Brianna Ghey's mother Esther
Brianna Ghey's mother Esther. Picture: Alamy

‘‘And I did apologise for them. When I recognised I made a mistake, I apologised and I think that's a lesson, I think, that all Prime Ministers should follow,’’ he continued.

‘‘I suspect Rishi Sunak is thinking about that today, that he should perhaps have given an apology, and perhaps more quickly.’’

Read More: Brianna Ghey’s grieving mother breaks silence on Rishi Sunak’s PMQs trans jibe

Read More: Sunak refuses to apologise to Brianna Ghey's family over trans jibe insisting what he said was 'absolutely legitimate'

Earlier today, Brianna's mother broken her silence on Mr Sunak's PMQs trans jibe after he refused to apologise for his remarks.

Esther Ghey has said she wants to focus on "creating a lasting legacy" for her daughter Brianna amid the fallout of the Prime Minister's trans jibe on Thursday.

Brianna's father, Peter Spooner, said the PM should say sorry for the "degrading" and "dehumanising" remark, which he made while her mother, Esther, was visiting Parliament.

James O'Brien: 'You don't do it when the mother of a murdered transgender girl is in the building.'

Writing on her Facebook page Peace & Mind UK, Ms Ghey wrote: "I don’t wish to comment on reports of wording or comments recently made. My focus is on creating a positive change and a lasting legacy for Brianna.

"Through Peace & Mind, we want to improve lives by empowering people, giving them the tools they need to build mental resilience, empathy, and self-compassion through mindfulness.

"In developing these skills, I hope that we can create a more understanding, peaceful, and stronger society for everyone."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Picture: Alamy

Earlier today, Mr Sunak continued to defend his jibe, insisting Brianna's murder was not relevant.

On a visit to Cornwall, he said: "Like everyone, I was completely shocked by Brianna's case. To have your child taken from you in such awful circumstances is almost impossible to come to terms with, and for Brianna's mum to talk with such empathy and compassion about that, I thought, was inspiring and it showed the very best of humanity.

"I've nothing but the most heartfelt sympathy for her entire family and friends."But to use that tragedy to detract from the very separate and clear point I was making about Keir Starmer's proven track record of multiple U-turns on major policies, because he doesn't have a plan, I think is both sad and wrong, and it demonstrates the worst of politics."

When asked to respond to Mr Spooner's demand for an apology, Mr Sunak said: "If you look at what I said, I was very clear, talking about Keir Starmer's proven track record of U-turns on major policies because he doesn't have a plan."