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Rebecca Long-Bailey has been forced to apologise for describing a man with brain the damage as a “practical vegetable”.
She used the phrase by “mistake,” a spokesperson for the shadow business secretary said following reports of the comment that came at a hustings.
The Labour leadership hopeful reportedly used the term to describe the husband of a Salford constituent who had suffered a serious accident.
Ms Long-Bailey recalled helping the man by securing a medical review for him despite care staff saying there was “no hope” for him. She said the man had gone from being a “practical vegetable” to having “hope for the future,” PoliticsHome reported.
“I promised him that we’d get some consultants in, we’d speak to the clinical commissioning group and we’d get another review done,” she told members at a hustings, according the news outlet.
“And the review happened over Christmas, and the review said the outcome was good.
“And if he had a different care plan, and he was moved into a different setting, within two years he’d be back home and potentially able to get a job and be back in employment.
“And from where he was as a practical vegetable to having that hope for the future, that made me realise how important my job was to fight for people who didn’t have a voice.”
A spokesperson for Ms Long-Bailey told PoliticsHome: “Rebecca wanted to emphasise that the person she helped had suffered a severe brain injury.
“She meant to say that they were practically in a vegetative state, and apologises for her mistake without reservation.”
The Standard has approached Ms Long-Bailey and the Labour Party for comment.