John McDonnell still refuses to apologise over 'lynch Esther McVey' remark

Posted On: 
21st January 2018

John McDonnell has refused to apologise for repeating an offensive remark about new Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey.

John McDonnell refused the opportunity to hear his comments again
Credit: 
PA Images

The Shadow Chancellor described the then-disabilities minister as “a stain on humanity” during an outburst two years ago.

At a separate event, he also recounted a comment he had heard in which someone said Ms McVey should be "lynched" for her part in implementing welfare cuts.

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Ms McVey was appointed Work and Pensions Secretary in the Cabinet reshuffle earlier this month in a surprise promotion after she was elected back into parliament last June.

Appearing on the Andrew Marr show this morning, Mr McDonnell was again given the opportunity to say sorry for the remarks about lynching the Cabinet minister if she was offended – but he refused.

“I said then I did not support what was happening. Of course I didn’t support that and it is for those people who made that statement, if they wish, to make that apology,” he said.

“It was a stand-up thing and I was saying, ‘look this is how rough politics is up there, it’s ridiculous’.”

He added: “I don’t wish harm to anybody and I refuted it completely.”

Mr McDonnell was asked if he wanted to listen to the audio of his past remarks but refused.

“No, you don’t need to [play it], I know exactly what was on it,” he said.

“That was recorded by the Daily Mail or something like that. They did nothing until Ed Miliband was getting up to make a major speech and then they ran the story to spike his speech.”

Mr McDonnell also said it would be up to MPs to decide how much private firms would be recompensed if they were stripped of their PFI contracts under Labour plans.

He made the comments after construction giant and public contract holder Carillion went bust putting thousands of jobs at risk.