image source, Reuters

Angela Rayner says she will apologise for calling Boris Johnson "scum" when he retracts past comments she described as homophobic, racist and misogynistic.

Labour's deputy leader was reported to have called Tory ministers "a bunch of scum" at a Labour conference event.

One Conservative minister accused Ms Rayner of "talking crap", while another urged her to apologise.

But, asked if she would retract the remarks, she called the prime minister a "racist, homophobic misogynist".

"I think he needs to apologise for comments he has made in the past," Ms Rayner told the BBC, adding: "I will apologise when Boris apologises for saying the comments he has made. I will retract that he is scum."

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Ms Rayner was reported to have made her remarks about Mr Johnson at Labour conference reception in Brighton on Saturday evening.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "Angela and I take a different approach and that is not the language I would have used."

Pressed on whether he would asking her to apologise, he said that was a matter for her but added: "I will talk to her later."

'Pretty accurate'

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy also distanced herself from Ms Rayner's comments, telling BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House: "Angela feels very strongly about what this government is doing. I do as well but that's not the way that I would choose to articulate my anger."

Len McCluskey, former general secretary of the Unite union, backed Ms Rayner, calling her comments "pretty accurate".

"There is an angry mood out there. I think Angie captures it," he added.

But Conservative politicians reacted angrily, with Foreign Office minister Amanda Milling saying: "Angela Rayner must apologise for these comments."

"Rather than throwing around false accusations, the Conservatives are focused on the people's priorities," she added.

Fellow Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said he was sure Ms Rayner's comments "went down well in the room" in Brighton.

But, he added, voters would see the Conservative Party had had two female prime ministers, and two of the most senior cabinet ministers were women from minority ethnic backgrounds.

He claimed it was the "most diverse government" with "more gay ministers than Labour ever had", adding that the public know Ms Rayner was "talking crap".

In October last year, Ms Rayner apologised for calling a Conservative MP "scum" in the House of Commons.