NICOLA Sturgeon has called out Rishi Sunak for his “terrible” comment about trans people at PMQs while the mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey was thought to be sat in the public gallery.

The Prime Minister was met with cries of “shame” and “disgusting” in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon when he accused Labour leader Keir Starmer of changing his position on “defining a woman”.

Following the comments, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said he was “grateful” to Angela Rayner and the Labour frontbench for arranging a meeting with Brianna's mother Esther. 

It was later confirmed that Esther Ghey was not in the public gallery for the exchange but entered shortly afterwards. 

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Outraged former first minister Nicola Sturgeon took aim at both Sunak and Starmer on Twitter/X following the incident.

She said: “This was truly terrible from Sunak. But let’s not kid ourselves – had Brianna’s mum not been there today, no-one (including Keir Starmer) would have batted an eyelid.

The National:

“It’s not good enough to stand against transphobia only when the mother of a murdered trans girl might be listening. It needs to be done all of the time.”

Flynn meanwhile said that Sunak had “once again degraded his office today” and that his comments “will not be forgotten”.

Specifically, the Labour leader attacked the PM for failing to bring down NHS waiting lists to which Sunak replied: “We are bringing the waiting lists down for the longest waiters and making progress, but it is a bit rich to hear about promises from someone who has broken 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% of a U-turn.”

Starmer replied: “Of all the weeks to say that, when Brianna’s mother is in this chamber. Shame.

“Parading as a man of integrity when he’s got absolutely no responsibility.”

The Prime Minister faced further calls to apologise for his jibe in the Commons, which was described as transphobic by SNP MP Hannah Bardell. 

Raising a point of order, she said: “Thank you very much Madame Deputy Speaker… for granting me the opportunity to raise concerns and say how horrified I was during Prime Minister’s Questions to hear the Prime Minister on his feet during LGBT history month, and on a day when Brianna Ghey’s mother was in Parliament, to make a transphobic joke across the chamber.

“We come to this place as elected representatives to improve the condition of others, do we not? And at a time when the trans community are facing unprecedented attacks from people in this place, from people in the other place, and from the media, it is incumbent upon us all to reflect on our language, on how we approach these issues and how we talk about the trans and non-binary community.

“I think and I hope she will guide me in how we can make sure the Prime Minister apologises.”

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing said it was not the job of the Speaker or his deputies to require Sunak to “say anything different”.

She added: “On behalf of the whole House, I reiterate our enormous sympathy and indeed admiration for Brianna Ghey’s mother for the way in which she has conducted her public profile over this last very tragic time for her and her family, and that is the reflection that this House ought to give that when a tragedy has occurred that we ought to show sympathy and understanding, and not always make political points.”

Downing Street has since defended Sunak and Number 10 repeatedly declined to apologise for the language.

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A spokesperson said: “If you look back on what the Prime Minister was saying, there was a long list of U-turns that the leader of the opposition had been making.

“I don’t think those U-turns are a joke, it is quite serious changes in public policy. I think it is totally legitimate for the Prime Minister to point those out.”