Shadow education secretary Kate Green has apologised after calling the Covid-19 pandemic a “good crisis” which Labour “should not let go to waste”.
Green made the remarks at the Labour Party’s virtual party conference, ‘Connected’, last week, which sparked a furious backlash and were used by Boris Johnson at prime minister’s questions to attack Labour leader Keir Starmer.
“I think there is obviously a real, immediate pressure to address these funding needs for the crisis, for the coronavirus crisis,” Green was reported as saying.
“But I think we should use the opportunity, don’t let a good crisis go to waste.”
Green, speaking to Sky News, today apologised if people felt “hurt” by the remarks: “I would be absolutely mortified and people would be absolutely right to be furious if that is what they felt I had meant and I’m really ashamed if they do think that because absolutely every death, every illness – I can’t imagine what families are going through who experience that and I just want to apologise to them and everyone who felt hurt and offended by what I said.”
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy had already apologised on Green’s behalf on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme last week, saying it was “absolutely the wrong way to express that and Kate knows that”.
At prime minister’s questions last Wednesday, Boris Johnson called Green’s comments the “real approach of the Labour Party, seeking to create political opportunity of a crisis, out of the difficulties and dangers this country is going through”.
Conservative party chairman Amanda Milling wrote to Starmer, calling on him to condemn Green’s remarks and for her to apologise.
“It is frankly appalling for a member of your frontbench team to see this as a political opportunity to exploit,” Milling told Starmer.