John McDonnell regrets upset caused by Esther McVey lynching remarks, MP says

John McDonnell "regrets" any hurt and upset caused by his repetition of comments calling for Cabinet minister Esther McVey to be lynched, a Labour frontbencher has said.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams acknowledged "we all in the heat of the moment will say things that perhaps we shouldn't" as she discussed the shadow chancellor's comments.

Mr McDonnell has always insisted he was quoting other people, so he has nothing to apologise for.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey arriving at 10 Downing Street, London, for a Cabinet meeting.
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey was employment minister when Mr McDonnell made the remarks in 2014. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

But the row reignited after Ms McVey was promoted to Work and Pensions Secretary in Theresa May's Cabinet reshuffle this month and a recording of the remarks emerged.

Mr McDonnell made his remarks at an event in 2014, when Ms McVey was employment minister.

Ms Abrahams told the Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5Live: "I know John so I'm very lucky, and we all in the heat of the moment will say things that perhaps we shouldn't.

"But I know the type of person he is, and how desperate he is to make this country a better country. And I know his ideas around that are fair."

She added: "I think he regrets any hurt and upset that this might have caused to people, to women and to anyone who has been affected."

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