Boris Johnson tells friends of murdered MP Jo Cox to back Brexit if they want to stop getting death threats
- Boris Johnson tells members of Parliament that if they want to stop receiving death threats they need to back Brexit.
- MPs have reported a surge in death threats from members of the public since the EU referendum campaign.
- However, the prime minister told friends of the murdered MP Jo Cox, that the best way to honour her death and prevent further death threats would be to deliver his plans to leave the EU.
- He accused his opponents of "surrender" and dismissed claims that his language was putting the lives of pro-European politicians at risk.
- Opposition and Conservative politicians, and Cox's husband Brendan, condemned the prime minister's comments.
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Boris Johnson has triggered a wave of outrage after telling friends of the murdered member of Parliament Jo Cox to back Brexit, if they want to stop receiving death threats.
The pro-European Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered on the streets during the EU referendum in 2016 by a man shouting "Britain first" and later giving his name to the court as "death to traitors, freedom for Britain."However, Johnson on Wednesday told MPs that the best way to honour Cox's memory and stop the growing number of death threats received by MPs was to "get Brexit done."
The prime minister used his first appearance in the House of Commons since the Supreme Court ruled that his decision to shut down parliament was illegal, to accuse his opponents of signing up to a "surrender bill" compelling the UK to delay Brexit.
Pushed by Jo Cox's successor as Batley and Spen MP, Tracey Brabin, to stop accusing his opponents of "surrender" and "betrayal," Johnson replied that "the best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox and indeed the best way to bring this country together would be, I think, to get Brexit done."
Several of Cox's former colleagues walked out in anger as the House of Commons descended into the most heated scenes seen in the chamber in living memory.
In an emotional speech Labour MP Paula Sheriff, who was a close friend of Cox, told Johnson he should be "ashamed" of his language and warned him that he was putting the lives of her and her colleagues at risk.Johnson dismissed her comments as "humbug."
Watch Boris Johnson dismiss Paula Sheriff's emotional plea
Asked again to tone down his rhetoric in order to prevent a repeat of what happened to Cox, Johnson replied that "the best way to ensure that every Parliamentarian is properly safe and we dial down the current anxiety in this country is to get Brexit done."
Johnson's comments led to a wave of outrage among both opposition and Conservative politicians.
The former Conservative Attorney General Dominic Grieve labeled Johnson a "pathological liar" with "no moral compass of any kind."
Johnson's former chief of staff when he was Mayor of London, Nick Boles, tweeted that "Boris Johnson will go down in history as one of the most callous and reckless human beings ever to occupy No 10 Downing St."
Conservative MP Stephen Crabb said that Johnson "has a duty as Prime Minister to try to bring unity to our country and reduce the level of poison in our politics," adding that he was "shocked by the way he responded to remarks about Jo Cox."
Even Johnson's Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan appeared to criticise the PM, tweeting that "we all need to remind ourselves of the effect of everything we say on those watching us."
Cox's husband Brendan tweeted that he "[feels] a bit sick at Jo's name being used in this way."Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain's departure from the EU, direct from Business Insider's political reporters. Join here.
An MP makes an emotional plea to tone down the language - citing death of her friend Jo Cox. The prime minister responds saying "humbug". pic.twitter.com/RbZsHRFyNF- Ashley Cowburn (@ashcowburn) September 25, 2019
I know the PM is aware of & sympathetic about the threats far too many of us have received because I shared with him recently the threats I am getting. But at a time of strong feelings we all need to remind ourselves of the effect of everything we say on those watching us.- Nicky Morgan MP (@NickyMorgan01) September 25, 2019
Feel a bit sick at Jo's name being used in this way. The best way to honour Jo is for all of us (no matter our views) to stand up for what we believe in, passionately and with determination. But never to demonise the other side and always hold onto what we have in common.- Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) September 25, 2019