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Angela Rayner Rebuked By Keir Starmer

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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Terrorists mount checkpoint on Gusau-Sokoto highway, kidnap 26 travellers

UAE

Terrorists in Tuesday afternoon blocked and kidnapped over 26 travellers along the Gusau-Sokoto highway.

According to reports, the bandits blocked the road around Kwaren Kirya village under Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State and abducted all the passengers from a Toyota 18 seater bus and a Volkswagen golf vehicle.

A resident of the area who pleaded anonymity for security reasons told News Point  that the situation is getting worrisome as the bandits now block the road on a daily basis.

“As I’m talking to you now, about 30 minutes ago, these bandits have blocked another side of the road. They cleared the passengers of an 18 seater bus and a golf, the situation is worrisome because it has become an everyday thing for these people to be blocking the road,” the source said.

He expressed concern about a village called Balge along the highway which he claimed harbours suspected bandits.

The source appealed to the government to deploy security outposts around the area to checkmate the activities of the criminals

“There is a village when you pass that Kwaren Kirya called Balge, about 80% of settlers in that village are bandits,” the source added.

“There was a time they were chased out of the place but a majority of the people there were bandits. We just need government to help us and station military around the area.”

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Akeredolu’s Burial: Ondo Govt Declares 2-day Public Holiday

The Ondo State Government has declared Thursday, Feb. 22 and Friday, Feb. 23 as public holidays in honour of the late former Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Ebenezer Adeniyan, on Tuesday in Akure.

Adeniran said the two-day holiday will allow people of the state to honour the late former governor with several programmes billed for both days.

Akeredolu died in Germany on Dec. 27, 2023 and would be buried on Friday in Owo, his hometown, according to the programme released by the family.

“The two work-free days will allow the people of the state to participate in the burial activities of the former governor,” the statement said.

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Gov. Fintiri approves N10,000 monthly allowance for corps members in the state

Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, has announced a monthly payment of N10,000 for all corps members serving in the state.

Fintiri stated this while declaring open the 2024 batch ‘A’ stream 1 orientation programme for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, deployed to Adamawa in Damare, Girei Local Government Area of the state.

Represented by deputy governor, Professor Kaletapwa Farauta, Fintiri said the payment was to cushion the effects of inflation currently being experienced in the country.

“I have no doubt in my mind that you will reciprocate this gesture by being diligent, disciplined, hardworking and committed to your various places of primary assignments for the betterment of your host communities,” he said.

Fintiri said that Adamawa remained a home away from home for corps members serving in the state.

“More so, as corps members, you are automatically bonafide indigenes of Adamawa.

“This is a privileged status conferred on you by me as the number one resident and executive governor of the state.

“I always regard you as our strategic partners in the execution of our people oriented policies and programmes, particularly on education, healthcare, agriculture and rural development,” he said.

In his address, Mr Jingi Denis, Coordinator of the NYSC in Adamawa, described the approval of N10,000 monthly allowance for corps members as first of its kind in the state and lauded Fintiri for his practical support.

He encouraged the corps members to comply strictly with all camp rules and regulations, and be obedient to the corps officials.

He said they would apply appropriate sanctions on recalcitrant corps members in line with the provisions of the NYSC Bye-Laws.

“The oath of allegiance, which you have just taken today is solemn.

“I implore you to always find time to meditate over its spirit and letters, and be guided by same throughout the service year and beyond,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 1,336 corps members were registered and the oath of allegiance was administered by Justice Helen Hamman-Joda of the Adamawa High Court.

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