Outrage as Johnson claims getting Brexit done is best way to honour murdered MP
The Prime Minister dismissed concerns from a colleague of murdered MP Jo Cox as ‘humbug’.
Boris Johnson provoked gasps in the Commons after claiming the best way to honour murdered MP Jo Cox would be to “get Brexit done”.
The Prime Minister’s remark came after several MPs drew upon the memory of Ms Cox when urging him to curb his “violent” and “dangerous” language.
Labour’s Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury) criticised Mr Johnson for his repeated use of “surrender act” when describing legislation designed to prevent ministers forcing through a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
She warned against using such language and mentioned Ms Cox before highlighting that many MPs are subject to death threats and abuse.
But Mr Johnson labelled her remarks “humbug”, which prompted an angry response in the chamber – with shouts of “shame” emerging.
Labour’s Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Spen, who was elected to the seat after Ms Cox was killed by a man with far-right sympathies during the 2016 EU referendum campaign, also called for the PM to moderate his language.
She said: “As the woman who has taken over a seat left by our dear friend Jo Cox, can I ask him in all honesty as a human being please, please will he going forward moderate his language so that we will all feel secure when we’re going about our jobs.”
Appalled by the Prime Minister this evening. He breaks the law and uses dangerous language that stokes division and worse in our communities. Then he get applauded by his MPs for doing so. It is unworthy of the position of PM. Utterly depressing.— Rachel Reeves (@RachelReevesMP) September 25, 2019
Mr Johnson replied: “Of course there will be an attempt to try to obfuscate the effect of this Act, but it does – the Capitulation Act, or the Surrender Act or whatever you want to call it – it does, I’m sorry, but it greatly enfeebles, it greatly enfeebles this Government’s ability to negotiate.
“But what I will say is that the best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox and indeed the best to bring this country together would be, I think, to get Brexit done.”
This Prime Minister is a disgrace.@paulasherriff made heartfelt plea for him to stop using inflammatory words like "surrender". She pointed at the plaque for murdered MP Jo Cox, and regular death threats MPs face, quoting such language.— Jo Swinson (@joswinson) September 25, 2019
Johnson said "humbug".
Earlier, Ms Sherriff said the PM had “continually used pejorative language to describe an Act of Parliament passed by this House”.
She added: “We should not resort to using offensive, dangerous or inflammatory language for legislation that we do not like and we stand here under the shield of our departed friend with many of us in this place subject to death threats and abuse every single day.
“And let me tell the Prime Minister that they often quote his words Surrender Act, betrayal, traitor, and I for one am sick of it. We must moderate our language and it has to come from the Prime Minister first.”
She added: “He should be absolutely ashamed of himself.” Her words prompted applause from the opposition benches.
Mr Johnson said: “I have to say Mr Speaker I’ve never heard such humbug in all my life.”
I get death threats and still I stand up, I don't surrender to fear & aggression. I don't surrender to lowest common denominator of fear to votes. I don't surrender to bullies who call me names. It is not I who have surrendered it is Boris Johnson he has surrendered his dignity.— Jess Phillips Esq., M.P. (@jessphillips) September 25, 2019
As the PM was heckled, Speaker John Bercow intervened to say: “I appeal to the House as a whole to debate these issues calmly.”
Labour MP Alison McGovern (Wirral South) also said: “Those of us who constantly remember our friend Jo Cox need our political culture to change now.
“It is getting toxic. The Prime Minister’s language is violent, and his Government is dysfunctional.”
She called on Mr Johnson to “take responsibility” and to “accept he acted unlawfully” and tell the Commons which of his ministers will now resign.
Mr Johnson said he agreed that tempers have become “very ragged” across the country. He said the best way to bring people together is to “get Brexit done”.