Angela Rayner apologises for ‘scum’ attack on Tories

Deputy Labour leader made comments at party conference in September

Deputy leader of Labour Angela Rayner at the party conference on September 28 in Brighton, England. Photo: Getty
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Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has apologised for calling senior Conservatives “scum” at a reception at her party’s conference in September.

“I would like to unreservedly apologise for the language I used and I would not use it again,” Ms Rayner said.

She said her apology came after a period of reflection while off work following a bereavement.

It also came after she was the target of threats and at a time when Westminster is still mourning the loss of Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death at a meeting with his constituency on October 15.

“While I have been away from the cut and thrust of Parliament I have reflected on our political debate and the threats and abuse that now seem to feature all too often,” Ms Rayner said.

“I have also reflected on what I said at an event at the Labour Party conference. I was angry about where our country is headed and policies that have made life harder for so many people I represent ...

“But in the future I will be more careful about how I do that and in the language that I choose.”

A former delivery driver who sent a threatening email to Ms Rayner was given a suspended sentence on Thursday.

The court heard Benjamin Iliffe, 36, send the message because he felt she was “partially responsible” for the attack on Amess after she called the Conservative Party “scum”.

The defendant, who appeared by video-link from Thorpe Wood police station in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, warned Ms Rayner to “watch your back and your kids” in the email.

He admitted sending a threatening email, and also pleaded guilty to possessing a quantity of cannabis on Wednesday when he was arrested.

At the hearing in Huntingdon Magistrates' Court, Mr Iliffe, of Chatteris in Cambridgeshire, was sentenced to 15 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months.

At the Labour conference, Ashton-under-Lyne MP Ms Rayner described the Tories as “a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he would not have used those words and spoke to her about the comments during the Brighton conference.

“It is shocking and appalling that Angela Rayner has suffered threats against her and against her family," Mr Starmer after Thursday’s events in court.

“Solidarity to Angela from me and the whole party.”

Updated: October 28, 2021, 11:15 PM