Watch: Moment Angela Rayner accused of calling Tory MP 'scum' in House of Commons
‘Excuse me, did the honourable lady just call me scum?’
Labour deputy leader Rayner reprimanded by Commons deputy speaker after appearing to call Tory MP ‘scum’ in heckle
Rayner hits back, saying the MP made ‘inaccurate’ remarks about Labour
She has previously criticised Boris Johnson for using divisive language in the Commons
This is the astonishing moment Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner appears to call a Conservative MP “scum” in the House of Commons.
It happened when Chris Clarkson insinuated members of the Labour frontbench believe the coronavirus pandemic is a “good crisis” to exploit.
This was in reference to previous comments by shadow education secretary Kate Green urging Labour activists not to "let a good crisis go to waste". Green later apologised.
At this point Clarkson, the MP for Heywood and Middleton, was heckled by Rayner, who appeared to be heard saying the word “scum”.
Clarkson immediately asked: “Excuse me, did the honourable lady just call me scum?”
Interrupting proceedings, deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing screamed: “Order, order, order!”
She told Rayner: “From the front bench we do not have remarks like that. Not under any circumstances, no matter how heartfelt it might be. Not at all.”
Rayner has previously criticised Boris Johnson after he was accused of using divisive language in the Commons at the height of Brexit tensions last year.
At the time, Rayner said the prime minister had “a direct strategy to divide our country” and that he should be “ashamed of himself”.
She had also called for MPs on both sides of the Commons to "dial down that language and act responsibly".
After being told off by Laing on Wednesday, Rayner made a point of order, accusing Clarkson of “inaccurate” remarks about the front bench.
She asked Clarkson to withdraw his remark – which he didn’t.
Tensions in the Commons were high following Tuesday’s collapse of talks between the government and Greater Manchester leaders over a financial package for the region after it was forced into Tier 3 restrictions by Downing Street.
Conservative Katherine Fletcher, the MP for South Ribble, accused Rayner – who represents a Greater Manchester constituency – of having “shamed Manchester” following the row with Clarkson and called for her to apologise.
Sara Britcliffe, the Tory MP for Hyndburn, also said of Rayner: “The attitude that I’ve just seen in this chamber is what turned many of my residents against the Labour Party. It’s unacceptable.”
Yahoo News UK has approached the Labour Party for comment.