PM in storm for saying best way to honour Jo Cox is to 'get Brexit done'

25 September 2019, 22:17

Boris Johnson&squot;s comments were met with shouts of "shame" in the commons
Boris Johnson's comments were met with shouts of "shame" in the commons. Picture: Parliament TV

By Maddie Goodfellow

Boris Johnson is facing criticism after telling MPs that the best way to honour murdered MP Jo Cox would be to "get Brexit done."

His remark provoked gasps from MPs, several of whom referenced Ms Cox when asking him to curb his "violent" and "dangerous" language.

Labour MP Paula Sheriff criticised the Prime Minister for using the phrase "surrender act" numerous times when describing legislation that would force through a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

She warned against using such language and mentioned the abuse and death threats MPs are subject to before referencing Ms Cox.

Mr Johnson responded by saying "humbug," adding that the best way to honour her memory would be to "get Brexit done".

His comments prompted an angry response in the Commons, with MPs shouting "shame" in response.

Jo Cox's husband Brendan Cox took to Twitter to show his distain for the comments, saying he feels "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," he stated.

Jo Cox was murdered by a man with far-right sympathies during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

Her replacement, Labour's Tracy Brabin, also called for the Prime Minister 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."

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."

Labour MP Alison McGovern 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."