BORIS Johnson has been blasted by furious MPs after he told the Commons they should honour Jo Cox by “getting Brexit done”.
The PM sparked outrage in the chamber after he was told to temper his language by Labour MP Paula Sheriff.
Ms Sheriff said she had faced death threats from people using the same language as Mr Johnson – as had Mrs Cox, 41, who was killed by a far right extremist in the run up to the 2016 EU referendum.
But Boris dismissed the comment as “humbug” causing disgust from MPs in the house.
Speaking this morning, Mrs Cox’s widower, Brendan Cox, said he felt “a bit sick” at the way her name was being used and appealed for both sides to calm down.
Labour boss Jeremy Corbyn slammed the PM’s language and said it “was indistinguishable from the far right”, while Liberal Dem leader Jo Swinson said Mr Johnson’s comments were “a disgrace”.
She added: “He heard the pleas of MPs, many of whom who have faced death threats, to moderate his language and dismissed their concerns with the same callous bluster that has become his trademark.”
Tracey Brabin, who succeeded Mrs Cox as MP for Batley and Spen, said Mr Johnson needed to remember “his words have consequences”.
Ms Brabin told BBC’s Radio 5: “He just proved that he has no emotional intelligence because then to say that the best thing we can do to remember Jo is ‘to get Brexit done’ when Jo was a passionate Remainer .
“Only the day before her tragic murder she was on the Thames with her family campaigning to stay in the EU – it just seemed extraordinary.”
He just proved that he has no emotional intelligence because then to say that the best thing we can do to remember Jo is ‘to get Brexit done’ when Jo was a passionate Remainer.
Paula Sheriff MP
“It got gasps around the chamber, because remember that Jo worked cross-party – she had friends in all parties. And just the crassness of it was deeply shocking.”
Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said all people “had a responsibility to be mild in our language when we’re speaking in this House or outside”.
“I’m afraid to say it’s something where all sides err from time to time and it’d be invidious to pick on individual examples but we have a responsibility of leadership,” he added.
Former cabinet minister Amber Rudd – who quit the Government and the Tory Party over Mr Johnson’s approach to Brexit – told ITV’s Peston programme the premier’s remarks were “dishonest and dangerous”.
When asked if a referendum was a better option than a general election, Ms Rudd said: “Better? Probably yes … probably better than a general election, because my concern is a general election wouldn’t resolve anything.
“If we end up not being able to resolve this, the last resort would have to be a referendum.”
If we end up not being able to resolve this, the last resort would have to be a referendum.
Amber Rudd MP
Ms Cox’s widower, Brendan Cox, said British politics had “descended into the gutter” and that both sides of the Commons needed to think about their language.
He told GMB: “We can disagree with each other passionately – Jo wouldn’t step back from what she believed in – that’s different from using frankly rhetorical flourishes.
“It’s the kind of language which creates a very dangerous environment where violence is more likely.
“That’s on all sides – not just Leavers and Remainers.
“There’s danger where we see the worst language and rhetoric from the other side and excuse our own.
“[We should] take a deep breath, to realise that language has real world consequences – my family are a living embodiment of that – and take personal responsibility for that.”
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.
After the Commons clash last night, he said: “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,” he tweeted.
Despite Mr Johnson’s attacks, opposition parties again made clear they would not agree to an election until they were sure the threat of a no-deal Brexit on October 31 was off the table.
Downing Street said if opposition MPs did not take up the Prime Minister’s offer to table a no-confidence motion, the Government would take it as a mandate to press on with Brexit.
Mr Johnson was forced back to Westminster, cutting short his visit to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, after the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday his five-week suspension of Parliament was illegal.
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The Government will, however, ask MPs on Thursday to agree to a three-day break for the Commons next week while the Tories stage their annual party conference in Manchester.
But amid the angry mood at Westminster, the opposition parties appear unlikely to agree, meaning Mr Johnson could be forced to rearrange his keynote speech due to be held on the final day on Wednesday.
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