Rayner offers to apologise for calling Johnson 'scum' - 'if he says sorry for racist comments'

Angela Rayner has said she will apologise for calling Boris Johnson "scum" - as long as the prime minister says sorry for "comments that are racist, homophobic and sexist".

Labour's deputy leader caused a storm on the first day of her party's conference in Brighton for a late-night rant - recorded by the Daily Mirror - in which she labelled senior Tories as "homophobic, racist, misogynistic [and] absolute vile... piece of scum".

On Monday she challenged the prime minister for a sit down chat, saying he should apologise first for what she considers discriminatory comments before she says sorry herself.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer distanced himself from the deputy leader's strongly-worded attack, as did a number of other senior Labour MPs, but Ms Rayner initially refused to back down.

She appeared to stand by her comments in an interview with Sky News, and suggested she was talking only about the prime minister, not Tories in general.

“Anyone who leaves children hungry during a pandemic and can give billions of pounds to their mates on WhatsApp, I think that was pretty scummy,” she said.

She added: “I’m saying the prime minister has said those things and acted in that way. If the prime minister wants to apologise and remove himself from those comments he has made that are homophobic, that are racist, that are misogynistic, I will apologise for calling him scummy.”

'And I held back a little...': Listen to Angela Rayner's speech at the Labour Party conference

On Monday morning she said it seemed people are "far more concerned with my choice of language than the fact Boris Johnson has made comments that are racist, homophobic and sexist".

"I'm very happy to sit down with Boris. If he withdraws his comments and apologises, I'll be very happy to apologise to him."

She added: "Boris Johnson also called the children of single mothers 'ignorant and illegitimate'.

"According to Boris Johnson, when I was a young single mum I should have been pushed into ‘destitution on a Victorian scale’. So you can apologise for those comments as well prime minister."

A spokesman for the prime minister said he had not seen Ms Rayner's offer, adding it is for the deputy Labour leader to choose her own comments.