Sadiq Khan demands Rishi Sunak apologise over anti-trans joke in leaked video

Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has demanded prime minister Rishi Sunak apologise over a leaked video showing him mocking trans people. 

Speaking with PinkNews at the Pride in London celebrations on Saturday (1 July), the Labour mayor said he was “angry”, “surprised” and “shocked” at the content of the video and believes Sunak should issue a public apology. 

The footage, shared exclusively with PinkNews, showed Sunak joking with other Tory MPs about “women having penises” at a 1922 Committee party. 

The 1922 Committee is a group of all-Conservative MPs that meets weekly when Parliament is sitting. 

“It shows his spectacular misjudgement and why he’s completely unfit to lead our country,” Sunak can be heard in the leaked footage, possibly referring to Labour leader Keir Starmer. 

Sunak continued: “Over the same period of time, you might have noticed Ed Davey has been very busy. 

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“Like me, you can probably see that he was trying to convince everybody that women clearly had penises.

“You’ll all know that I’m a big fan of everybody studying maths to 18, but it turns out that we need to focus on biology.”

The anti-trans comments were met with laughs from Tory MPs. 

Initially, Khan believed the video was a fake because he could not believe the prime minister of the United Kingdom would make such remarks about a marginalised community. 

“I’ve got to admit, I first thought that video was a fake,” Khan told PinkNews. 

“I tell you why: we’re not talking about Donald Trump or somebody running to be the US president from the right – we’re talking about our prime minister.” 

He continued: “I was angry, I was surprised, I was shocked and I think he should apologise.” 

The London mayor went on to question – as the trans community faces “such prejudice and discrimination” – how Sunak can “make the environment even worse by making fun of [trans people] to try and get a cheap laugh from your backbench MPs”. 

Upon being made public by PinkNews, Sunak was quickly lambasted by Labour’s shadow equalities minister, MPs from across the political spectrum and LGBTQ+ organisations. 

Anneliese Dodds, the shadow equalities minister, told PinkNews that “trans people should not be used as a political football” whilst an anonymous senior Tory MP labelled the comments “profoundly depressing”. 

Kate Osborne, the Labour MP for Jarrow, tweeted: “It is disgusting that in public and private Rishi Sunak is escalating his culture war – throwing trans people under the bus to distract from the Tory-made cost of living crisis. 

“Using trans women as a punchline is a new low for this awful prime minister.”

This notion of trans rights being used to stoke a culture war was also referenced by Khan, who said some politicians are using trans rights to get “cheap votes”. 

“I’d asked them not to and ask them to just try and imagine what it must feel like talking in the shoes of a young trans person,” the London mayor added.

Issuing a message to everyone taking part in Pride or protesting, Khan said: “It’s really important that we celebrate the progress made, and part of that progress is here in London.

“You’re free to be who you want to be.

“You’re free to love who you want to love.

“As long as I’m the mayor, we won’t simply tolerate each other. We will respect, embrace and celebrate each other – and that includes the trans community.”

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