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Angela Rayner Rebuked By Keir Starmer

Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner rebuked by Keir Starmer for branding Tories ‘scum’

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner was rebuked by Sir Keir Starmer on Sunday after she described senior Tories as “scum”.

She made the controversial remarks during a fringe event at around 9.15pm on Saturday, the opening day of the party’s five-day conference in Brighton.

“We cannot get any worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, mysoginistic, absolute pile … of banana republic… Etonian… piece of scum,” she told activists, according to the Daily Mirror.

Sir Keir Starmer sought to distance himself from her intervention, which appeared to refer to Boris Johnson and his Conservative Government.

The Labour leader said he and his deputy “take different approaches”, telling the BBC: “That’s not the language that I would use.”

He said he would speak to her about the episode, but insisted it was a matter for her whether she apologised.

The row erupted ahead of Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves setting out the party’s tax plans on Monday, with proposals to overhaul the business rates system and review a thousand current tax reliefs, with a view to scrapping those deemed unfair and inefficient.

Allies of Sir Keir warned that Ms Rayner’s remarks risked overshadowing such policy interventions, arguing that while her comments played well with elements of the party base, they detracted from Labour’s messaging and alienated the wider public.

Tories condemn ‘appalling’ remarks

Senior Conservatives weighed in to condemn the remarks, branding them “appalling”, as they demanded the deputy Labour leader show contrition for her language.

Some members of the shadow cabinet were also forthright in suggesting she should say sorry. Lucy Powell, shadow housing secretary, said Ms Rayner should “probably” apologise, telling LBC: “Once you realise you’ve caused offence and overstepped the mark, the right thing to do is to be clear about that.”

The deputy Labour leader stood firm, however, and said the remarks were made at a “post-watershed” reception and amounted to a bid to express her “anger and frustration” with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

She said she would apologise only if Mr Johnson said sorry for past comments that she described as homophobic, racist and misogynistic.

In the past Mr Johnson has made a series of outspoken comments that have elicited censure, including comparing Muslim women in burqas to “letter boxes” and describing black people as “piccaninnies”. He has said he used such phrases in a satirical sense.

Rayner doubles down

Doubling down on her comments on Sunday, Ms Rayner told Sky News: “Anyone who leaves children hungry during a pandemic and can give billions of pounds to their mates on WhatsApp, I think that was pretty scummy.”

The Ashton-under-Lyne MP said she had simply deployed the “street language” of her northern working-class roots.

Members of the Government reacted with outrage at the remarks. Foreign Office minister James Cleverly accused her of “talking c–p” about the Conservatives, pointing out the party had two female former prime ministers and now boasts the “most diverse” government.

Oliver Dowden, the Conservative Party chairman, said: “At a time when the country is trying to pull together to recover from Covid, the last thing we need is the deputy leader of the Labour Party calling people ‘scum’ and yelling insults.”

He added: “We need to make politics better, not drag it into the gutter. Let’s see if we get an apology.”

Calls for apology

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said Ms Rayner’s verbal attack was “absolutely appalling”, telling Sky News: “There’s no place in public life for that sort of language, that sort of behaviour.”

Pressure grew on Ms Rayner to apologise after long-serving Tory MP James Gray said sorry on Sunday for making a “foolish remark”, after it emerged he had told a WhatsApp group of MPs that a bomb should be planted in Labour chairman Anneliese Dodd’s office.

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell defended Ms Rayner, suggesting she should not have used the language she did but that “deep down she’s expressing the anger many of us feel”.

“We’ve all been there, late at night, getting very angry about what’s going on. What I like about Angie Rayner is that she’s human,” Mr McDonnell told Sky News.

The left-wing MP previously sparked uproar after suggesting former Tory work and pensions secretary Esther McVey should be “lynched” while referring to her as a “b——” at a 2014 comedy night.

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TCN Restores National Grid

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has announced the restoration of the national grid after its partial collapse on Monday.

This was made known by Mrs Ndidi Mbah, TCN’s General Manager, Public Affairs in a statement in Abuja.

Mbah said that the national grid experienced partial system disturbance at about 10.51 am, as a result of a sudden drop in system frequency, which created system instability.

She said that the restoration of the affected grid commenced immediately at 11.55 am with Osogbo/Ihovbor, followed by Jebba/Osogbo, Kainji/Jebba, Benin/Onitsha, Shiroro/Kaduna, Shiroro/Katampe and Alaoji/Ikot-Ekpene.

Others are Lokoja/Gwagwalada, Odukpani/Ikot Ekpene, Benin/Omotosho, Oke-Aro/Ikeja west, Egbin/Oke-Aro and Kaduna/Kano.

She said the grid restoration has almost been completed, adding that the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) regrets any inconveniences caused.

Mbah said NESI appreciated the understanding of electricity customers within and outside the country.

According to her, NESI is committed to leveraging the concerted interventions instituted so far to enhance power supply reliability so that the issue of system disturbance will soon become outdated.

She said the National Control Centre would launch a full-scale investigation “to establish and ascertain the cause of the partial disturbance as this unwholesome event has resulted in aggregated generation loss.

 

 

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Chukwudi Ajaegbu, 35, Arraigned For $11,000 Fraud

A 35-year-old importer, Chukwudi Ajaegbu, has been arraigned before the Ogba Magistrate’s Court for allegedly obtaining $11,000 fraudulently from one Austine Ukaoha in the Ikeja area of Lagos State.

Ajaegbu appeared before Magistrate F.M. Onamusi on a three count charge.

The defendant, with others at large, were said to have conspired to commit felony, to wit stealing, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 411 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, Nigeria 2015.

According to the police, sometime in 2010 on Bread Fraint Street, in the Balogun area of Lagos, the defendant, with others at large, conspired among themselves to obtain the sum under false pretences.

The charges read in part, “That you, Chukwudi Ajaegbu, on the same date, time and place, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did fraudulently obtain the sum of $11,000 from one Austine Ukaoha, under the pretence of importing goods from China, the presentation known to be false, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 314 (3) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, Nigeria 2015.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Magistrate Onamusi adjourned the matter till December 7, 2022.

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2023: NBC Tasks Broadcasters On Professionalism

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has tasked broadcasters to handle political campaigns with professionalism.

The director-general of NBC, Balarabe Ilelah said this on Monday at a multi-stakeholders dialogue held in Abuja.

As campaigns for the 2023 elections are set to begin on September 28, Ilelah asked broadcasters to ensure not to allow hate speech or fake news on their platforms.

“This is in addition to ensuring equity in airtime allocation and coverage of political parties’ activities, particularly during prime times,” he said.

“It is also the time for you to make money from political adverts and campaigns, but ensure that this is done within the ambit of law.

“Broadcasters are also required to handle live political rallies with care and due professionalism. This is in addition to studio-based live political interviews/broadcasts. Because of the sensitivities of such programmes, broadcasters are advised to install delay mechanisms.

“Remember that broadcast stations are held responsible for any breach. The stations shall, therefore, assume and accept editorial responsibility”, he added.

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