Firebrand left-winger John McDonnell REFUSES to apologise for joking that Tory minister Esther McVey should be ‘lynched’
-Labour MP faced calls to apologise for joking Esther McVey should be lynched
-Shadow Chancellor insists he was only repeating comments made by others
-Refused to apologise today despite facing fresh criticism for offensive remark
Labour’s John McDonnell has refused to apologise to Esther McVey for repeating a call for her to be ‘lynched’ at a stand up comedy event.
Mr McDonnell made the comments during a comedy night attended by left-wing activists and fellow Labour politicians, which had been organised by the Stop the War Coalition on Remembrance Sunday 2014.
He quoted a constituent, who had shouted out in a public meeting that instead of McVey, then a Work and Pensions minister, being sacked, Labour should “lynch the b*****d”.
McDonnell said at the event: “I was up in Liverpool a fortnight ago where Alec McFadden, one of our (union) organisers, launched the Sack Esther McVey Day on her birthday.
“I spoke at a packed public meeting … there was a whole group in the audience that completely kicked off quite critical of the whole concept, because they were arguing ‘Why we are sacking her. Why aren’t we lynching the bastard?’”
The quote has dogged him ever since, with some accusing him of making light of death threats to a female MP.
But he denies he agreed with the sentiment, insisting he was merely repeating something that was said in a public meeting.
Tory Commons leader Andrea Leadsom launched an attack on McDonnell this week, saying: “This is truly evil. Utterly disgusting. The laughter about launching a campaign against Esther McVey and the guffaws about killing her. Seriously? Is this Jeremy Corbyn ’s kinder, gentler politics? This has to stop.”
Confronted with Ms Leadsom’s comments, McDonnell said: “I’m surprised at Andrea’s comments. She’s a good woman.”
Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr if he was quoting the comments approvingly, he said: “No. Of course I wasn’t.”
Marr said: “But there was laughter.”
McDonnell said: “I know, but it was a stand-up thing. I was saying look how rough politics is out there. It’s ridiculous.”
He went on: “Remember a couple of weeks later, I stood up in Parliament and gave a statement and said ‘of course I don’t agree with that. I don’t wish harm to anybody. And I refuted it completely.”
Marr offered to play the audio of the comments – but Mr McDonnell said no.
“You don’t need to,” he said. “I know exactly what was on it.
“But let me be clear what happened here. That was recorded by I think the Daily Mail, some kind of paper, and they did nothing until Ed Miliband was getting up to make a major speech and then they ran the story to spike the speech. It was a political manoeuvre.”
He added: “In parliament, when people misinterpreted it I got up and said: ‘Of course I don’t support this. And I wish harm on nobody.”
“And that was accepted.”
Asked if he would apologise to Ms McVey if she was upset by the comments, he declined.
He said: “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 added: “What I do want people to think about is the policies the government was pursuing against disabled people who suffered so much as a result of some of those policies.”
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Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5294187/John-McDonnell-REFUSES-apologise-lynch-McVey-jibe.html
Source : https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/john-mcdonnell-refuses-apologise-repeating-11888475