Conservative MP: Remain campaign 'spinning' Jo Cox's death
A Conservative MP has accused the EU Remain campaign of “spinning” the death of Labour MP Jo Cox, while Nigel Farage said that the tragedy had cost Leave “momentum”.
A series of polls published today – some conducted before and some after Ms Cox’s death – show the pro-EU side making progress at the expense of the Brexit camp.
Ukip leader Mr Farage suggested the “act of terrorism” may hit the chances of a Leave vote on Thursday.
“I think we have momentum – we did have momentum until this terrible tragedy,” the Ukip leader told ITV’s Peston on Sunday.
“It’s had an impact on the whole campaign for everybody... when you’re taking on the establishment you need to have momentum.”
Andrew Murrison, a Conservative backbencher in favour of leaving the EU, took to Twitter to criticise the Remain campaign’s response to Ms Cox’s death.
He said: "Remain side spinning Jo Cox murder for partisan advantage in
#EUReferendum shameful." He has since deleted the message.
FARAGE: I'VE BEEN A VICTIM
The tragedy has prompted calls for a more restrained and respectful tone in political debate.
Mr Farage said he had himself been the “victim” of hatred in politics.
“I think I’ve been a politician who’s been a victim of it, to be honest with you. Look, when you challenge the establishment in this country, they come after you,” he said.
“All we have said in this referendum campaign is we want to take back control of our lives, take back control of our borders and put in place a responsible immigration policy.
"Quite frankly, when it comes to negativity and rhetoric we have seen far more of it from the Remain side.”
Labour MP Yvette Cooper immediately said it was “extremely ill-judged” for Mr Farage to call himself a “victim”.
Several figures on the Leave side – including Michael Gove and Labour MP John Mann – today distanced themselves from Mr Farage’s controversial ‘Breaking Point’ anti-immigration poster which showed a line of refugees.
But he defended the language he has used in the EU referendum campaign on immigration, and pointed to reports of mass sexual assaults by migrants in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.
“What about the truth? The truth is that what Angela Merkel did last year was a huge policy failure that has left much of Europe less safe than it was before...
“What happened in Cologne happened and things like that have happened since in Germany.
"The real point I’m making is that as part of the European Union we’ve lost control of who can come into our country. We would be safer taking back control.”
Steve Hilton, who used to work as David Cameron’s director of strategy, also accused the Remain campaign of failing to live up to calls for a more respectful manner of debate.
He said of George Osborne’s comments: “What we heard was that those who want to leave the EU want a meaner, narrower Britain.
"It’s perfectly reasonable to disagree about the arguments but I think it is just not OK to question the motives.”