Angela Rayner says PM's position is 'untenable' if fined over parties
Sky News

In the last two days it seems everyone has shared their thoughts on the Will Smith and Chris Rock debacle.

This morning, it was apparently deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner’s turn to give her take on the row.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of days, during the Oscars, Smith smacked comedian Chris Rock after he made a jibe about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head - despite her being open about her struggle with alopecia.

Several politicians have stuck their oars in, with the education secretary even being asked about how teachers should explain the situation to kids this week.

Smith has since issued a lengthy apology.

Speaking to Kay Burley this morning, Rayner said it would be “completely unacceptable” if she “went over the despatch box and lamped Boris Johnson” as she criticised Smith, who she says has set a bad example for young people.

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She told Sky News that “violence is never the answer” and added: “I get passionate and upset, we all do, but, you know, if I went over the despatch box and lamped Boris Johnson because I didn’t like what he said, because he offended me, then that would be completely unacceptable, and I think it was unacceptable that Will did that, so I think it was right that he apologised.”

She added: “You lose the debate if you resort yourself to violence.”

During the same interview, Rayner said the prime minister’s position would be “untenable” if he is fined for breaking lockdown rules.

Her comment comes as the first 20 fines have been doled out by the Metropolitan Police following the Partygate scandal.

Also speaking today, education minister Will Quince said children were taught at school that “violence is never, ever the answer”.

He said: “It’s so disappointing because I’m a huge fan of Will Smith and I think violence is never, ever the answer.”

Quince said pupils were taught as part of the curriculum: “We know people can lose their tempers, we know that people can say hurtful things, but violence is never, ever the answer.”

He added: “It’s just so unfortunate to see such a high-profile figure reacting that way.”

Quince said he welcomed Smith’s apology and said: “I hope he reflects on his behaviour because he is a big role model.”

Smith has been condemned by the Academy as it launched a formal review into his altercation with Rock during the Oscars ceremony.

Following the incident, organisers tweeted: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form.”

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