Labour’s shadow education secretary has apologised for previously suggesting the Covid-19 pandemic could be a “good crisis” for her party.
Kate Green was reported to have made the comments earlier this month at an online event during the party’s annual conference.
She told Sky News she “really regretted” the remarks, admitting they were “hurtful and offensive”.
She added: “It was absolutely the wrong thing to say.”
The Stretford and Urmston MP, who was appointed to her role in June, said her remarks were a “really clumsy and awful way to say that we need to learn from a crisis.”
Last week the Sun reported Ms Green told party members the pandemic had shown “what happens when you under-resource schools, when you under-resource families and communities.”
She was reported to have added: “But I think we should use the opportunity, don’t let a good crisis go to waste.”
“Particularly for those of us in Labour, let’s be talking now about what this has really exposed, about the way in which we’ve undervalued our whole education system.”
‘Hurt and offended’
Asked about the comments on Monday, she told Sky: “I really regret saying that.”
“It was absolutely the wrong thing to say, hurtful and offensive to people who’ve suffered in this pandemic, and I shouldn’t have said it.”
She went on to add she had been trying to highlight what could be done differently to make sure the UK was better prepared for future crises.
Asked whether she had intended to exploit deaths from the virus for political advantage, she replied: “People would be absolutely right to be furious if that was what they felt I had meant”.
‘Out of context’
“I’m really ashamed if they do think that,” she said, adding: “I can’t imagine what families are going through who’ve experienced that”.
“And I just want to apologise to them, and to everybody who has felt hurt and offended by what I said.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has previously apologised for Ms Green’s comments, after Boris Johnson criticised them during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
Asked after PMQs whether he had spoken with Ms Green, Sir Keir said: “The team have spoken to her and we have apologised.
“I have apologised again – it was taken out of context, it wasn’t what she meant,” he added.