Tory MP Mark Francois condemned over 'horrible, violent imagery' after knife gesture in Commons

Posted On: 
22nd May 2019

Tory MP Mark Francois has been condemned after he appeared to use violent imagery as Theresa May spoke in the Commons.

Tory MP Mark Francois has come under fire
PA Images

The hardcore Brexiteer was caught “shaking his head and running his finger along his throat like a knife” during Prime Minister's Questions.

The incident came amid mounting speculation that Conservative MPs will launch a fresh bid to unseat her within days.

Beleaguered Theresa May begs MPs not to 'duck' their duty by voting down Brexit bill

Theresa May begs Jeremy Corbyn to back her Brexit deal as Tory opposition grows

Liam Fox: MPs who reject Brexit bill are 'breaking their contract with voters'

Mrs May has come in for severe criticism from her party colleagues after she presented her “new” Brexit deal, which included a mechanism that could end up with another EU referendum.

Cabinet ministers are also understoof to be mulling their next moves, with members of the so-called 'Pizza Club' of Brexiteers meeting in the Commons shortly before PMQs.

During the session, Sunday Times journalist Tim Shipman tweeted: “Mark Francois has just signalled to the press gallery, shaking his head and running his finger along his throat like a knife.”

The move prompted a swift response from Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson, who evoked the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox during the 2016 EU referendum, as well as the foiled plot to kill another Labour MP, Rosie Cooper.

She tweeted: “A Member of Parliament was murdered. Just a few days ago a man was jailed for plotting to murder another MP.

“Our political debate can, and must, be better than this horrible, violent imagery.”

Other female MPs also criticised Mr Francois over his behaviour.





Mr Francois, who has been a vociferous critic of the Prime Minister and is a deputy chair of the European Research Group of pro-Brexit Tory backbenchers, could not be reached for comment.

Mrs May has said MPs will get to vote on whether a second EU referendum should be held if they pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at its second reading.

The promise will be contained in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which is set to be published on Friday and be brought before the Commons in the first week of June.