Boris Johnson is being heavily criticised after he made comments in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening which caused fury and outrage.
Labour MP Paula Sherriff raised the murder of MP Jo Cox in the Commons and the regular death threats that MPs face, asking Boris Johnson to stop using “dangerous” language like “Surrender Act”. The Prime Minister responded by saying that he had ‘never heard so much humbug in all my life’. The word ‘humbug’ is generally defined as ‘deceptive or false talk or behaviour’. While Mr Johnson made the comment, Jacob Rees Mogg, the leader of the House was reported to be sniggering.
The behaviour prompted fury in the Commons and on social media. London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted that the language was ‘distressing to hear’, while many others called it ‘disgusting’ and ‘disgraceful’.
Mr Johnson later said that he thought the best way to honour Jo Cox was to get Brexit done – comments which sparked further outrage. The husband of the murdered MP and Remain campaigner said he felt ‘a bit sick’ following the comments.
The Prime Minister later did not apologise for the comments when asked to.
Some fear the ‘dangerous’ language by the PM may increase hostility towards MPs and potentially even endanger their safety.
Few have tried to defend Mr Johnson’s comments, however some criticised MPs for bringing Jo Cox into conversation during a political debate. However, the death of the MP exists strongly in the memory of many MPs and they are therefore arguably right to feel and express concerns for their safety.
The comments came as the PM was delivering a statement in the House of Commons following the Supreme Court’s ruling that Parliament’s suspension by the PM was unlawful and that is should return. However, the actual contents of the statement was largely overshadowed by the government’s behaviour in the Commons which caused outrage both inside and outside of Westminster.
The Prime Minister was also criticised by some for not giving a full apology to the House for proroguing Parliament and also for showing no remorse for these actions.
Mr Johnson said; “I think the court was wrong to pronounce on what is essentially a political question at a time of great national controversy”. The Prime Minister also attacked the opposition, as he has before, for not backing his demands for a general election.
Photo Credit: Arno Mikkor (EU2017EE) under licence (CC BY 2.0)