Sources close to Dominic Raab have spoken out in attempt to explain his controversial wink at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).
During what was an eventful PMQs yesterday – which saw Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party at MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, Angela Rayner, go head to head in the House of Commons in Boris Johnson’s absence – Raab was caught winking from the dispatch box in what appeared to be Rayner’s direction.
Not long after the wink was captured by television cameras, it was shared to Twitter and the social media platform soon became flooded with accusations of misogyny and calling the Deputy PM out on his “sexism”.
Mr Perkins said: “I will never unsee Dominic Raab’s wink from the despatch box at Angela Rayner. I feel soiled,” and Angela Rayner responded to this statement in a now-viral tweet saying: “Imagine how I feel”.
The controversial wink followed an exchange in which Mr Raab accused Ms Rayner for dodging a question on last week’s national rail strikes, saying that she apparently “flip-flopped” in her position on the RMT Union’s industrial action.
Mr Raab said: “She was asked by the BBC, straight question, she’s usually a straight-shooting politician, ‘do you like the RMT?’ she said ‘I’m going to have to go now, I’ve got a train to catch’.”
In response to an attack from Ms Rayner over his previous stance on food banks, the Deputy PM said: “If the Labour Party, if she wants to help working people, they should be clear in standing up against these militant, reckless strikes.”
He added: “She talks about working people. Where was she when the comrades were on the picket line last Thursday? Where was she when the Labour frontbench were joining them rather than standing up for the public? She was at the Glyndebourne music festival sipping champagne, listening to opera.
“Champagne socialism is back in the Labour Party.”
Laughter was then heard throughout the chamber for a number of seconds following this claim, and Mr Raab was seen winking in the direction of Labour’s frontbench.
“Sexism and classism all in one foul swoop,” one person said of the wink on Twitter.
Another Twitter user labelled the wink as “disgusting sexism”, and someone else asked if Speaker Lindsay Hoyle would “be having words and reminding MPs that such sexism is not allowed in the chamber”.
After continuous calls for Mr Raab to address the controversial situation and explain his actions, the Deputy PM’s team have now spoken out to insist that he was not winking at Angela Rayner and say he was actually winking at shadow Scottish secretary, Ian Murray.
Apparently, according to a source, they claimed that off camera, Mr Murray made a comment that was inaudible to those watching on TV home, in which he “muttered it would be ‘no bad thing’ if Angela Rayner stood for leader of the Labour Party”, ITV News reports.
Mr Raab’s wink was then allegedly in response to Mr Murray’s remark, but some social media users have questioned this explanation, with one person on Twitter highlighting that: “The comment about her running for leader wasn’t in that clip when he winked, so can’t have been in response to it.”
Ms Rayner has since received praise from supporters for her performance at PMQs yesterday.
Featured Image – Parliament TV
Chester Zoo is giving away 35,000 FREE tickets to children
Chester Zoo is giving away tickets to local schools to help inspire a whole new generation of young conservationists.
The UK’s largest charity zoo is on a mission to help nature to “survive and thrive”.
And so, in a bid to do just that, has announced that it will once again be handing out tens of thousands of tickets to schoolchildren for completely free of charge, so that they can explore the zoo up close and learn all about the inspiring work the conservation charity does.
Chester Zoo‘s free ticket scheme has been running since 2017, and has already seen more than 100,000 children get to experience all the wonders the zoo has to offer.
With the hopes of empowering as many youngsters as possible, and sparking their passion for saving species once again, the zoo has now opened the scheme back up for the 2024/25 season – with a whopping 35,000 tickets available for schools, nurseries, and colleges to claim.
Not only that, but the zoo has also decided to open the initiative up to the education providers that haven’t benefited from the scheme within the last three years.
Every school participating in the programme will receive a free resource pack to help maximise the educational impact of their zoo visit.
“Every one of us is a custodian of our natural world,” commented Charlotte Smith, who is the Director of Conservation Education and Engagement at Chester Zoo, “But it’s the next generation of conservationists who are fundamentally important to overcoming the environmental and biodiversity challenges our planet is facing.
“They are inspiring and they give us hope, which is why we’re so keen to connect them with the awe and wonder of nature and help to nurture their passion and desire to make a difference.
“It’s proven that a visit to the zoo can significantly enhance people’s understanding of the huge efforts that go into conserving highly threatened species, while also bringing physical and mental health benefits.
“That’s why we particularly want to reach youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds and ensure they are the primary beneficiaries of the initiative, so we can provide them with the skills and know-how to go on and make a real, positive difference to wildlife in their everyday lives.”
The zoo is hoping to help inspire a whole new generation of young conservationists / Credit: Chester Zoo
Applications for Chester Zoo’s Free School Visits programme are now open, with free visits able to take place between Friday 1 November 2024 – Friday 28 February 2025, and any forms that are incomplete or received after the deadline date of Friday 22 March 2024 are unable to be processed.
The scheme is open exclusively for nurseries, schools, and college groups.
Places are open to schools who haven’t taken advantage of the scheme in the last four academic years, and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so the zoo is advising that people complete and submit the application form at “your earliest opportunity” to make sure they don’t miss out.