RISHI Sunak has refused to apologise for a transgender jibe he made in the House of Commons while the mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey was sat in the gallery.

The Prime Minister was met with heckles of “shame” and “disgusting” on Wednesday when he accused Keir Starmer of changing his position on “defining a woman”.

Brianna – who was transgender – was killed by two teenagers last year in a “frenzied and ferocious” knife attack. They have now been jailed for life.

After paying tribute to Brianna’s mum Esther, Starmer attacked Sunak for failing to bring down NHS waiting lists.

Sunak responded by reeling off a number of key policy areas Starmer had U-turned on, saying: “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.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon takes aim at Rishi Sunak following trans joke row

The jibe was met with outrage from opposition MPs and Brianna’s father has demanded an apology.

But when asked by Sky News if he would apologise, Sunak said it was “legitimate” for him to make the point about Starmer.

Downing Street doubled down on Sunak's comments on Wednesday afternoon, but this was the first time the PM had spoken to the media since.

He added it was “sad and wrong” to link his comment’s to Brianna’s case.

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, a point only proven by today’s reports the Labour Party and Keir Starmer are apparently planning to reverse on their signature economic green spending policy.

“He’s someone who has just consistently changed his mind on a whole range of major things. I think that is a legitimate thing to point out.”

READ MORE: Ex-Tony Blair adviser blasts Labour for ditching £28bn green pledge 

Sunak said he was “shocked” by Brianna’s case and said Esther had been “inspiring” in talking about her daughter’s plight.

However, he then said: “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.”

Tory MP Paul Scully told BBC Politics Live that Sunak should apologise. Asked, he responded: "Yeah, if it was me I would probably pick up the phone to Brianna's father, frankly. That's how I approach my politics."

Number 10 has said Sunak’s views remain the same on gender identity.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I don’t think he’s changed his position on gender identity.

“He’s talked before around first and foremost how the UK is a compassionate and tolerant country.

“More broadly, he’s said that it shouldn’t be controversial to be clear on what the definition of a woman is. That’s not least because of the fundamental facts of biological sex being critically important in areas such as healthcare and other services.”

His spokesman said the Prime Minister’s view of the “definition of a woman is an adult, human female.”

Downing Street also rejected the suggestion the Prime Minister had repeatedly used transgender people as a punchline or a joke.

His official spokesman said: “I wouldn’t accept that he does that. I think, as you can see from the exchange yesterday and in previous exchanges, he’s obviously made political points in relation to the Opposition.”

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt suggested Sunak should reflect on his words and insisted he would “say something later today, or perhaps even during this session”.