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Labour frontbencher slammed for 'shameful' tweet about Prince Philip's retirement

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 4/05/2017 Sean Morrison
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A Labour frontbencher has come under fire for a “shameful” tweet about Prince Philip’s retirement.

Chi Onwurah was slammed when she wrote that the Duke of Edinburgh would be retiring “in financial security at a time of his choosing.”

Her tweet came as Buckingham Palace confirmed the 95-year-old prince would be stepping down from his royal duties.

Ms Onwurah, standing again to be MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central and the former shadow minister for business, congratulated him - but what she said next sparked outrage on social media.

She wrote: “Congratulations to Prince Philip on retiring in financial security at time of his choosing from a job he enjoys #forthemanynotthefew #waspi.”

The "waspi" hashtag refers to the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign.

Many took to social media to vent their outrage at Ms Onwurah’s response to Thursday morning’s news.

Some people accused her of being "bitter" and asked whether or not she would still be working at the age of 95.

Another said: “I’d imagine he’s done more for the UK than most MPs ever will.”

Others wrote that Ms Onwurah was a “fool” for taking a “cheap shot” at the prince, and that she had a “chip on her shoulder.”

Among those who took aim at the Labour MP was Conservative candidate for Stratford-on-Avon Nadhim Zahawi.

He wrote on Twitter: “That is shameful & wrong. I am truly shocked by your comments.

"The Royal family should be kept out of politics. I hope you will apologise.”

In response, Ms Onwurah said: “I have huge respect for Prince Philip & the Royal family, but also want others to enjoy same freedom of retiring when & how they choose.”

Buckingham Palace on Thursday morning announced the Duke of Edinburgh, who turns 96 next month, will retire in the autumn.

The Queen called an unexpected meeting with senior staff before confirming the news.

A statement from Buckingham Palace read: "The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or a member of over 780 organisations, with which he will continue to be associated, although he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements.

"Her Majesty will continue to carry out a full programme of official engagements with the support of members of the Royal Family.”

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