Theresa May forced to apologise after attack on Angela Rayner backfires

Posted On: 
10th January 2018

Theresa May was forced to issue a grovelling apology today after an attack on Labour’s Angela Rayner spectacularly backfired.

Theresa May took questions at the first PMQs of 2018

The Prime Minister rebuked the Shadow Education Secretary over her absence from the Commons before being told she was receiving medical treatment.

Speaking during the first Prime Minister’s Questions of 2018, Mrs May initially took a swipe at Ms Rayner, noting that she was “not in her place on the front bench today”.

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But after shouts of explanation from the Opposition benches, the Prime Minister rapidly backtracked.

“I did not realise the Shadow Education Secretary was herself undergoing medical treatment. I apologise unreservedly for that comment,” she said.    

However, she continued with criticism of recent remarks made by Ms Rayner on Labour’s economic strategy.

The Shadow Education Secretary had told the Spectator: “It is a bit of a sh*t-or-bust strategy, I get that. It’s a high-risk strategy.

“But all of Britain’s great advancements in the past have been because we’ve had the gumption to take a risk.”

The Prime Minister mocked the comments, telling MPs: "What do we know about the Labour party's economic policies?

“We were told all about them from the description from the Shadow Education Secretary... She did say the Labour party's economic policy was high-risk.

“That means high-risk for taxpayers, high-risk for jobs and high-risk for our NHS and that's a risk we will never let them take."

Asked after the exchange if Tory whips had been notified that Ms Rayner was unwell, a spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said: "As I understand it, they were. She's off sick this week but I think she'll be back next week."