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EXCL Angry rhetoric could lead to another MP being killed like Jo Cox, warns Speaker's chaplain

EXCL Angry rhetoric could lead to another MP being killed like Jo Cox, warns Speaker's chaplain
2 min read

Another MP could be killed like Jo Cox unless politicians tone down their rhetoric over Brexit, according to the Chaplain to the Commons Speaker.


Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who is also Chaplain to the Queen, said MPs "have a responsibility to be careful, however passionately they feel about the subject matter".

Boris Johnson sparked a furious backlash last month when he dismissed a Labour MP's safety concerns as "humbug".

The Prime Minister also claimed that the best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox - who was murdered by a right-wing extremist in 2016 - was to deliver the result of the EU referendum.

And he has been criticised for describing the Benn Act aimed at stopping a no-deal Brexit as the "surrender bill".

In an interview for The House magazine, Ms Hudson-Wilkin said politicians needed to be "careful" about the language they use.

She said: "History will show us that we've gotten it completely wrong. The kind of discourse that we had back in 2016 around Brexit contributed to the death of Jo Cox. I believe that very strongly.

"I think we need to be very careful. My greatest fear is that it could happen again. Politicians have a responsibility to be careful, however passionately they feel about the subject matter.

"They have a responsibility to temper their language and to think before using words. Because once the words are thrown out there – once this sort of the playground, yobbish behaviour is out there – you cannot take it back."

The leading cleric added: "Parliamentarians may – after they've had a tumultuous time in the chamber – have a drink or cup of tea with each other, but those outside the House do not see that.

"They just hear the language on PMQs – and it takes someone who has not got all their faculties intact to take it to the extreme. And we could face another sad loss, as we did back in 2016."

Mr Johnson has refused to back down in the row over his choice of language, insisting he had been the "model of restraint".

"My use of the word humbug was in the context of people trying to prevent me from using the word surrender," he said.

“In that case, that was a total misunderstanding and that was wrong.

“I can certainly say sorry for the misunderstanding, absolutely, but my intention was to refuse to be crowded out from using the word ‘surrender’ to describe the Surrender Act."

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