Nandy refuses to defend Rayner after she blasts senior Tories as 'scum'

26 September 2021, 10:20 | Updated: 26 September 2021, 14:59

Lisa Nandy was grilled on Tom Swarbrick's show about Angela Rayner's controversial comments.
Lisa Nandy was grilled on Tom Swarbrick's show about Angela Rayner's controversial comments. Picture: LBC

By Sophie Barnett

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy has condemned the language used by the party's deputy leader Angela Rayner, after she blasted the Tory party as "scum" at the party's annual conference.

The shadow foreign secretary appeared to be shocked to hear that Ms Rayner said she "held back a little" in her comments on Saturday evening about the Conservative leadership.

Speaking to Tom Swarbrick from the Labour Conference in Brighton, Ms Nandy said she "doesn't tend to insult people in politics".

This comes as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also said that he would not have used the same words as his deputy leader, but did not call for her to apologise.

Tom asked: "Let me ask you about Angela Rayner, who said last night to a fringe meeting 'I'm sick of shouting from the sidelines and I bet you's lot are too. We cannot get any worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolute pile of banana republic, itonian piece of scum' as she said she held back a little. Do you think Tory government ministers are scum?"

"Did she say she held back a little?" Ms Nandy asked.

Read more: Angela Rayner refuses to apologise for calling Tories 'scum' and 'racist'

Read more: HGV shortage: Govt 'created this crisis' through inaction, Angela Rayner says

"Wow. Well, I mean look, it’s not the language that I would use. I don’t tend to insult people in politics, I tend to try and win the argument.

"And I think the way that Labour is going to win a general election is not to have a row about the Tories or call them names, the way we are going to win an election is to make sure that we provide not just an opposition but an alternative."

Quizzed by Tom on whether the party leader "went too far", she said: "It’s just not the way that I do politics."

Ms Nandy was also asked about the government's handling of the lorry driver shortages, which have seen panic-buyers scramble to petrol stations across the UK.

She described the government's plans to bring in temporary visas for 10,000 foreign workers as "a sticking plaster, not a permanent solution".

"We need proper planning from the government, we never get proper planning from this government, so we lurch from one crisis to another.

"All of this was foreseeable."

Her comments come on day two of the Labour party's annual conference, which will come to a close on Wednesday.

Read more: 'Time's up - the racket's over': Angela Rayner takes aim at Tories over contract spending

The conference kicked off on Saturday with a speech by Ms Rayner, who outlined the party's new green paper for workers, including improvements on pay, job security and equality.

She pledged to increase sick pay as she slammed the Tory government and vowed "their time is up".

She also vowed to "stamp out the Tory sleaze that has polluted our politics and corrupted our democracy" as she outlined proposed reforms to workers' rights.

Ms Rayner reportedly later told an audience at a fringe meeting that the government is made up of "a bunch of scum" that are "homophobic, racist and misogynistic".

The Deputy Leader has since defended her comments, saying they were made to an audience of Labour activists "post-watershed".

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