IT has been a bad week for Rishi Sunak. One day, he is goaded into making an intemperate bet by Piers Morgan, and the next he is criticised for an insensitive transgender joke in the presence of a mother grieving for her transgender daughter whose murderers were partly driven by transphobia.

It may have been possible to feel sorry for Mr Sunak over the Morgan bet. Gambling £1,000 away doesn’t look good in a cost-of-living crisis, and reducing the fate of asylum seekers to a pub-style flutter is pretty insensitive, but Mr Sunak would have been just as embarrassed if he had left the TV host’s hand hanging there in front of, well, tens of viewers on TalkTV.

However, there are hardly any redeeming features in the transgender joke. Yes, Labour needs to be called out for U-turns. Yes, many people will feel Labour’s stance is not as certain as it could be. Yes, it is alright to poke fun at a rival politician, but it is not alright if, in the process, a minority group is ridiculed.

Mr Sunak is the Prime Minister which makes the joke worse. That it came when murdered teenager Brianna Ghey’s admirable mother was in the House makes it doubly worse.

Politicians may be bursting with adrenalin as the election approaches, but they should not let their compulsion to score political points get the better of them.

Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison put it eloquently and calmly when she said: “As politicians, it’s our job to take the heat out of such debates and focus on finding sensible ways forward, whilst ensuring those involved are treated with respect. Given some of the terrible incidences of transphobia we have seen lately, this need for respect feels more crucial than ever. That’s why it was disappointing to hear jokes being made at the trans community’s expense. Our words in the House resonate right across our society, and we all need to remember that.”