Crass, tactless – could Rishi Sunak’s trans blunder lose him the election?

The prime minister’s mockery of Keir Starmer on trans rights – when the mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey was in the Commons gallery – exposed his lack of a sixth political sense, writes John Rentoul

Wednesday 07 February 2024 16:50 GMT
Rishi Sunak may have just had his ‘Gordon Brown moment’
Rishi Sunak may have just had his ‘Gordon Brown moment’ (PA Wire)

When prime ministers lose general elections there is often, looking back, a moment that defined when public opinion turned against them. When, for example, a chance exchange involving a member of the public shows them in their true light.

It happened to Gordon Brown in 2010 when he was recorded by a live microphone calling Gillian Duffy, a Labour voter he met on an election walkabout, a “bigoted woman”. Brown duly led Labour to defeat after 13 years in power.

Today may have been Rishi Sunak’s “Gillian Duffy” moment. Making a crass jibe at Keir Starmer about “defining a woman” on the day that Esther Ghey, the mother of murdered trans teenager Brianna Ghey, visited the Commons was Sunak at his most unempathetic.

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