Rishi Sunak Should Apologise to Brianna Ghey’s Family for Anti-Trans Joke, Say Voters
Exclusive poll suggests voters were deeply unimpressed with the Prime Minister's comments
In this week’s Bienkov Briefing:
Exclusive poll suggests voters were unimpressed with the PM’s anti-trans comments this week
The PM has refused to apologise for the comments made in the presence of the mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey
Voters also gave the thumbs down to suggestions of bringing Boris Johnson back into Government
Survey finds voters would be willing to pay more tax to fund the NHS
An overwhelming majority of voters believe Rishi Sunak should apologise for the anti-trans joke he made in the House of Commons this week, while Brianna Ghey’s mother was attending Parliament, an exclusive poll conducted for the Byline Supplement suggests.
Seventy-seven per cent of those surveyed by pollsters We Think said they believed the Prime Minister should apologise for his comments, made during an exchange with Labour leader Keir Starmer.
The Prime Minister’s comments led to an immediate backlash, with Ghey’s father Peter Spooner telling Sky News that he was “shocked” by Sunak’s comments.
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"Identities of people should not be used in that manner, and I personally feel shocked by his comments and feel he should apologise for his remarks”, he said.
Sunak’s opponents also jumped on the comments with Starmer’s spokesperson telling Byline Times that “we don't think that the country wants or deserves a Prime Minister that is happy to use minorities as a punch bag”.
The comments also caused a backlash within his own party, with the Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt suggesting the Prime Minister should “reflect” on his comments.
However, the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet ministers repeatedly refused to apologise on his behalf, with Sunak accusing the Labour leader of trying 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”.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister insisted to Byline that the Prime Minister’s comments were “legitimate”.
However, even Conservative voters appear to disagree with the Prime Minister, according to the poll, with 59% of those surveyed agreeing that he should apologise, compared to just 41% who disagreed.
Senior Government figures have repeatedly sought to capitalise on the issue of trans rights.
Last year the then Deputy Conservative Party Chairman Lee Anderson suggested that the Government’s record on the economy meant that they would “have to think of something else [in order to win the election]. It'll probably be a mix of culture wars and the trans debate."
There appears to be a significant age gap in how Sunak’s comments were viewed according to the poll, with 85% of those aged under 40 saying Sunak should apologise, compared to just 50% of those over the age of 75.
Voters also appear to be split on the broader issue. Asked whether trans women should be considered women, 51% of those surveyed by We Think said they should, compared to 49% who disagreed.
No Right of Return for Johnson
The Prime Minister this week refused to rule out bringing back the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson into Government, telling an ITV documentary that he was “proud” of their work together.
Under current rules Johnson could be brought back into Government via the House of Lords, as his predecessor David Cameron was last year.
However, our poll found little public appetite for a return for Johnson.
Asked whether it would be a good or bad idea to bring the former PM back into Government, just 36% of those surveyed said they thought it would be a good idea, compared to 64% who disagreed.
Voters Willing to Pay More Tax to Help the NHS
The Conservative party has accused Labour of seeking to raise taxes, while promising that a future Conservative government would cut them.
The row comes despite taxes being projected to rise to a record high overall under current government plans.
However, new polling by We Think suggests that voters would be willing to pay more in tax if it meant a better functioning health service.
Sixty-eight per cent of those surveyed, including 66% of Conservative voters, said they would be willing to pay a little more in tax if it were to be ring-fenced for the NHS and social care.
The survey also found little appetite for greater private involvement in public services, as suggested to varying extents by both the Conservatives and Labour.
Fifty-six per cent of those surveyed said they believed core public services, such as hospitals, railways, water and energy should be nationalised, compared to just 20% who said they should be run by private companies.
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