Downing Street blasts 'vitriol' aimed at Theresa May amid furious Tory row over violent language
Downing Street has condemned "personal vitriol" aimed at Theresa May amid a fresh Conservative row over violent language hurled at the Prime Minister.
Pro-Brexit MPs told weekend newspapers that Mrs May's Brexit plans meant she was about to enter the "killing zone", and advised her to “bring her own noose” to a showdown with Tory backbenchers later this week.
One told the Sunday Times: "The moment is coming when the knife gets heated, stuck in her front and twisted. She'll be dead soon.”
Pressed on the remarks this morning, Mrs May's official spokesperson said they did not "intend to dignify those specific anonymous comments with a response".
But the spokesperson added: "What I would say is that the Prime Minister has always been very clear that we must set a tone in public discourse that is neither dehumanising or derogatory.
"Personal vitriol has no place in our politics."
The comments have already drawn swift condemnation from MPs on both sides of the Commons, with Health Committee chair Sarah Wollaston lashing out at “spineless cowards” and others drawing parallels between the language used and the 2016 murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.
Tory backbencher Heidi Allen told the BBC whichever of her colleagues talked about knifing the PM should have the whip removed and be "thrown out of the party".
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott - who has herself faced years of racist abuse - joined the chorus of criticism on Monday morning, with the Labour frontbencher hitting out at the "horrible, violent, abusive language" directed against Mrs May.
Her Labour colleague Yvette Cooper has meanwhile called on the anonymous briefers to be unmasked, while former minister Nick Boles attacked the "very small man" he claimed was behind the attack.
"Everyone in Parliament knows who it is," Mr Boles added. "So do all the journalists in the lobby. My suggestion: stop reporting his appalling statements."