LABOUR is today under pressure to say sorry for accusing Rishi Sunak of wanting child sex attackers to go free.
A party attack ad saying the PM thinks such sickos should dodge jail sparked a mammoth backlash – even from its own supporters.
Sir Keir Starmer is under pressure to apologise for a ‘vile’ attack ad
Labour’s attack ad on Rishi Sunak has drawn a mammoth backlash
It said: “Do you think adults convicted of sexually assaulting children should go to prison? Rishi Sunak doesn’t.”
Labour also included stats claiming 4,500 sex attack monsters had avoided jail on the Tories’ watch.
Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell this morning insisted it was part of the “cut and thrust” of politics – although refused to say she stood by the tweet.
The controversial post was blasted as distasteful and hypocritical from all sides of the political divide and Twitter has even slapped a rare “context” disclaimer on it.
Labour MP John McDonnell said: “This is not the sort of politics a Labour Party, confident of its own values and preparing to govern, should be engaged in.
“I say to the people who have taken the decision to publish this ad, please withdraw it. We, the Labour Party, are better than this.”
Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson called it “vile and embarrassing” while Conservative MP Robert Largan branded the post “really shameful stuff”.
Ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor said: “This is grotesque and embarrassing.”
TV presenter Adil Ray piled in: “Is this really the right thing to say? Not long ago Labour were quite rightly complaining when Starmer was accused of ignoring Saville.”
In a car-crash interview today Ms Powell refused to either endorse or condemn her party’s tweet.
While admitting it would not be “to everyone’s taste”, she said: “This is the cut and thrust nature of politics”.
Asked on BBC Breakfast if she stood by Labour’s Twitter post, she squirmed: “What I stand by is what that graphic is trying to show, which is that the Prime Minister of our country is responsible for the criminal justice system of our country and currently that criminal justice system is not working.”
Asked again whether she stood by the message, she said: “I stand by what this tweet and this campaign is trying to highlight.”
She added: “The graphic itself, obviously, is a skit based on his own graphics that he extensively uses.”
Since the tweet was posted yesterday afternoon Twitter has put a disclaimer at the bottom.
It says: “The current sentencing guidelines for this crime has a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.
“There is no conservative party policy that plans to remove this.”
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