Labour Claims Austin Mitchell Has Apologised, He Says Not
Veteran MP Stands Firm Over Calling Pfizer “Rapists”
Austin Mitchell is unapologetic, saying he accidentally wrote “rapists” instead of “rapaciousness”.
Naughty me.Substute rapaciousness before any more Physer defenders weigh in.—
Austin Mitchell (@AVMitchell2010) May 14, 2014
But “roll up rapaciousness” makes no sense. What is it with MPs called Mitchell coming up with less than credible excuses?
He has told the Huffington Post that he has no regrets about using the word:
“He explained that he used the term “rapists” as he was referring to the rape “of a company”, warning that their prospective takeover of AstraZeneca would see a “dismantling of a company and the loss of jobs”.
“I don’t know why they want to defend the company. They object to the word so I’ll substitute rapaciousness – as they are a rapacious company.”
Asked if he had any regrets for using the word “rapists”, he replied: “No.””
Yet, a Labour spokesman tells Guido:
“The Chief Whip has made it clear to Austin Mitchell this tweet was unacceptable. He has now apologised for an obvious error of judgement.”
Where is this apology then?
UPDATE: Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women weighs in:
‘It is wholly inappropriate to use rape to make a political point in this way. Ed Miliband needs to show some leadership. He should make it clear to Austin Mitchell that this vile comment is unacceptable and demand an apology immediately.’
UPDATE II: Mitchell speaks to Grimsby Telegraph: “Those wanting me to quit are daft and are too sensitive on the issue.”
No 10 says Cameron believes tweet by Lab's Austin Mitchell re Pfizer and rapists is"quite wrong"—
David Singleton (@david_singleton) May 14, 2014
UPDATE IV: Nicky Morgan has written to Ed Miliband:
“People across the whole country will be appalled that anybody would try to link a proposed corporate takeover with the horrific crime of rape. I am sure you will agree with me that such a comparison is deeply offensive as it trivialises sex attacks and the horrific and traumatising effects such attacks can have on victims. I am clear that these comments are totally unacceptable and that Austin Mitchell must withdraw what he has written immediately and issue a full, unreserved apology. As the Leader of the Labour Party I look forward to hearing what action you intend to take in response to this totally unacceptable behaviour.”
UPDATE V: He won’t stop. Mitchell tells the Guardian: “I’m not going to apologise, don’t be silly. What about people who talk about the rape of the countryside – do they have to apologise?”