The PM accused his opponent of having difficulty in ‘defining a woman’ during an attack on Labour.
Determined Rishi Sunak will take Labour’s “dirty tricks” head on after the party used the Brianna Ghey tragedy to distract from chaos in its ranks.
Sir Keir Starmer finally confirmed he was ditching his flagship £28 billion green spending plan after months of speculation that the tax bombshell was facing the axe.
But the Labour leader was accused of using the transgender teen’s murder to “detract” from the multiple U-turns he has made in recent months.
A senior Tory source said the Prime Minister would “never stoop so low” as to use Brianna’s murder as a political issue, adding: “If Starmer wants to start using dirty politics he’s got something coming to him.”
Mr Sunk insisted it was “sad and wrong” and the “the worst of politics” to link comments he made about Sir Keir’s approach to trans issues with the teenager’s death.
The PM had accused his opponent of having difficulty in “defining a woman” during an attack on Labour Party U-turns in the Commons on Wednesday.
Esther Ghey, the mother of Brianna, who was transgender, was visiting Parliament when Mr Sunak aimed the jibe at Sir Keir.
However she was not in the public gallery at the time.
The Labour leader responded by crying “shame” at the PM and called for an apology to the family.
During a visit to the south west yesterday (THURS) Mr Sunak said: “Like everyone, I was completely shocked by Brianna’s case.
“To have your child taken from you in such awful circumstances is almost impossible to come to terms with, and for Brianna’s mum to talk with such empathy and compassion about that, I thought, was inspiring, and it showed the very best of humanity.
“I’ve nothing but the most heartfelt sympathy for her entire family and friends.
“But to use that tragedy to detract from the very separate and clear point I was making about Keir Starmer’s proven track record of multiple U-turns on major policies, because he doesn’t have a plan, I think is both sad and wrong, and it demonstrates the worst of politics.”
Sixteen-year-old Brianna was stabbed to death by teenagers Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe in a Cheshire park last February.
The pair were both sentenced to life last week at Manchester Crown Court with the judge citing transphobia as one of the motivating factors.
Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch accused the Labour leader of trying to “weaponise” the tragedy.
But Sir Keir doubled down on his attack, insisting today: “She’s completely and utterly wrong. The idea that I’m responsible for Rishi Sunak’s comments is through the looking glass.”
The row erupted as Labour tore up its £28 billion a year green spending plans over fears it would become a problem at the ballot box.
On Tuesday, Sir Keir insisted his commitment to the pledge was unwavering.
Later that day, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt warned it would mean a £1,400 tax bombshell for the average family.
Labour originally promised in 2021 to invest £28 billion a year until 2030 in green projects if it won the next election.
The pledge was tweaked the following year to commit a future government under Sir Keir to spending the cash in the second half of a first term.
The Labour leader on Thursday confirmed the pledge will be drastically scaled back with the party now set to spend £23.7 billion over the course of the next parliament.
A Conservative source said: “Rishi will take the fight to Starmer and keep challenging him on all of his flip flopping.
“He will destroy Starmer’s con job.”
Labour’s Warm Homes Plan, a £6bn package of measures to improve energy efficiency, will now be “scaled back”, with just five million houses rather than the 19 million intended benefitting.
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Sir Keir Starmer finally confirmed he was ditching his flagship £28 billion green spending plan.
But the party will extend the windfall tax on oil and gas companies to the end of the next parliament, with the energy profits levy rising to 78 per cent.
Sir Keir tried to play down the climbdown, insisting “everything on the table is staying on the table” when it comes to the Green Prosperity Plan.
The Labour leader said the party in power would still retain its mission to achieve clean power by 2030, stressing that it could still be achieved.
“There is nothing we have said we will do that we are now saying we won’t do.
“I don’t want to have a row about the size of a cheque. I want to have a row about the outcomes,” Sir Keir said.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “If Labour keep getting scared off by Tory attacks, they will end up outsourcing their policy making to the Conservatives.”
Mike Childs, head of policy at Friends of the Earth, said: “By seriously watering down its Warm Homes Plan, the Labour Party has turned its back on the people who most urgently need these essential upgrades – the many millions of low-income households suffering from living in poorly insulated homes.
“The party’s claims that it is doubling the current Government’s spending commitment are misleading because not all the money is to be spent on insulation. Their new pledge pales in comparison to the investment required to tackle the worst homes and lift millions out of hardship.”
Greenpeace UK’s co-executive director Areeba Hami accused Sir Keir of having “caved like a house of cards in the wind”.
“Climate action, including borrowing to invest in warmer homes, remains hugely popular among voters. It would be ironic indeed if Labour’s attempt to make their manifesto ‘bombproof’ from Tory attack ended up just bombing on the doorstep instead,” she said.