Boris Johnson used the language of death threats – deliberately. He is a danger to lives

Boris Johnson: Look at the body language – on a day when he should have been showing abject contrition, he came out with language that poses a violent threat to people who oppose him. He is as much a danger to the people as he is to democracy.

If anybody in Parliament is a “traitor” – to the law, to Parliament, to the people of the United Kingdom – he is Boris Johnson.

As I write this, I’m listening to Jess Phillips asking an urgent question about the language our excuse for a prime minister used in yesterday’s (September 25) “toxic” debate – she says his words were “workshopped”; devised to create a divisive reaction and to cause as much offence as possible.

In his attempt to defend himself after the Supreme Court ruled his attempt to prorogue Parliament was unlawful – meaning he wasted 10 days of Parliamentary debating time – Mr Johnson used what many consider to be shocking language.

He seems to have made it clear, following words by Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox, that the attempted prorogation was about Brexit, as the debate seems to have revolved entirely around it.

He poured scorn on the legislation Parliament passed to prevent him from pushing a “no deal” Brexit on a nation that does not want it – describing it as a “surrender” act, a “capitulation” act, or a “humiliation” act.

Labour MP Paula Sheriff pointed out that Mr Johnson had chosen language that is used by people who send death threats to MPs.

She said: “We should not resort to using offensive, dangerous or inflammatory language for legislation that we do not like, and we stand here under the shield of our departed friend with many of us in this place subject to death threats and abuse every single day.

“They often quote his words ‘Surrender Act’, ‘betrayal’, ‘traitor’ and I for one am sick of it.

“We must moderate our language, and it has to come from the prime minister first.”

And how did Boris Johnson respond to that? “I’ve never heard such humbug in all my life.”


And he tried to co-opt the memory of murdered MP Jo Cox, killed by a far-right activist during the EU referendum campaign, by saying the best way to honour her memory was to “get Brexit done”.

Ms Cox was a Remainer!

Her husband Brendan, asked to comment, said the debate had descended into a “bear pit of polarisation” and MPs had fallen into a “vicious cycle where language gets more extreme, the response gets more extreme and it all gets hyped up.

“It has real-world consequences… It creates an atmosphere where I think violence and attacks are more likely than they would have been.”

In short: It seems clear that Boris Johnson is encouraging violence against MPs who disagree with him; that he wants them to fear for their lives.

That’s what Ms Sheriff believes – as evidenced by an interview with Victoria Derbyshire:

You can bet that people in the country have received that message.

If this leads to tragic results, we should all know where to lay the blame.

Source: Commons ‘bear pit’ condemned by Jo Cox’s husband – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


No Comments

  1. Stu September 26, 2019 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Can’t you tell that he’s just returned from his birthplace in the company of Trumpf ?

    This USA-style politics has no place in our civilised society or democracy.
    We are better than that, better than the army of gun weilding “Yahoos” in red baseball caps who supress any left-leaning free speech.

    Worst part is that in going on the offensive (in more ways than one) he has successfully managed to waste even more Parliamentary time in discussing his language and behaviour, in true Trumpf style.

  2. Zippi September 26, 2019 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I watched last night’s “debate” with dismay. I have never seen the so-called representatives of the people of our nation in such a state of disgrace; it was embarrassing, shameful, deplorable and I can excuse almost nobody. The whole day was one in which M.P.s hurled insults at one another and then cried victim, when the same was returned.
    I have written, already, about our collective need to dial down the rhetoric and temper our language and the events of last night bear that out. I was ashamed of our Prime Minister, when he said of Ms. Sheriff’s plea that it was humbug; there was no excuse and he should apologise to her, personally and publicly and in fact, to all M.P.s who have been subjected to such threats an intimidation in the course of their Parliamentary duty. I do take issue with criticism of the remainder of his remark however. Despite the fact that Jo Cox wanted us to remain in the E.U., she is famous for saying that we have more in common than that which divides us and the continuing wrangling over a decision that was made to leave the European Union is only inflaming division so, in that, I believe that the Prime Minister is right; the issue needs to be resolved; we need to leave.
    I also disagree with comments made with regard to “surrender, “capitulation” and “humiliation.” Certain people are equating these with war and unnecessarily and unhelpfully so. In a negotiation, the parties are adversaries. By “binding the hands” of the negotiator, this is, effectively, sending them in with little defence; it is submission, surrender, or capitulation, because it gives power to the negotiating opponent; anybody who has entered any kind of negotiation knows this. It would be humiliating for him, as it was for Theresa May. The negotiator needs to control his own timetable and if he sees fit to ask for an extension, it should be on his terms, not because he has been forced to. One does not direct by committee; one cannot negotiate in the same way. As a union man, I know that we always have the option to strike, or to take action short of a strike, in negotiation. If this is removed, what leverage do we have? Would it not be seen as surrender, or capitulation?
    Aye, our politicians need to moderate their language, to think about how it is both received and perceived and what the effects, intended, or otherwise, might be but that also goes to those who might comment on them and also, intended, or otherwise, whip up unnecessary hysteria and rancour.
    I was pleased that the issue wad raised, today, in Parliament; I wish that our Prime Minister would have been present. He does himself no favours by behaving as he did and belittling those who have genuine concerns. Even if it is a strategy, one cannot play the bad guy all of the time it wears painfully thin and becomes rather like his prorogation; null and of no effect.

    • Mike Sivier September 28, 2019 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      The anger over use of the words you mention was because they are habitually used in death threats sent to MPs.

      • Zippi September 30, 2019 at 11:18 am - Reply

        As I said, I witnessed the entire debate so, I know exactly what passed and why. I do not dispute that but my question is, who used them first? It seems that the Prime Minister may be taking the flack for events that occurred in the past. Many people, across the country, are angry, frustrated and this is most evident online. The internet seems to have become a place where people can vent with impunity, the problem comes when this spills out into the real world. I witnessed Joe Public using these terms long before I heard the Prime Minister use them. Remember “enemies of the people?” This came from irresponsible media but did media create it, or merely propagate it? Traitor is a commonly used expression; I have used it, in relation to David Cameron. Is the Prime Minister really to blame for what constituents are saying, simply because he may use similar expressions? I say that he and other M.P.s need to think, carefully about repeating them, for fear of justifying the actions of others and their use of such words; there is a difference. I gathered, from Ms. Sherriff’s plea, that she was implying that he was the source. She is, of course, correct in her saying that he is the person who would be of most effect in the dissipation of such language however I reiterate that those who comment on it need also to be mindful that they are not putting ideas into people’s heads.

        • Mike Sivier October 1, 2019 at 10:37 pm - Reply

          I would expect that the language of the death threats was used by the people making those threats – that is how it is possible to say it is the language of the death threats. Mr Johnson repeated that language in his speech, in what many have interpreted as a deliberate intimidating tactic.

          Nobody was saying Boris Johnson should be blamed for what other people have been saying. They were saying he should be blamed for using those words himself, after they had done so, and in full knowledge of the context of that use.

          Nobody was saying he was justifying the actions of those who issued the death threats. They were saying he was behaving in an intimidating manner himself, by using their choice of words.

          I did not infer from Ms Sheriff’s words that she was suggesting Mr Johnson was the source.

          And if those who comment on his use of those words need to be mindful that they may be putting ideas into people’s heads, should Mr Johnson not have been mindful that he was doing exactly the same thing? I think he should.

  3. PMsw3681 sw September 26, 2019 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    These MP’s don’t give a shit about us, the people, only in it for themselves and their wallets . Leaving cuts off the gravy train.

    • James F September 27, 2019 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      “Leaving cuts off the gravy train” – really? How? And which one? The home-brewed version? The USA one? Saudi? Israel?

  4. wildswimmerpete September 26, 2019 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    Incitement, another addition to Fuehrer BoJob’s rap sheet. Hopefully we can act to put him bars, hopefully for years not weeks. That’ll finish his political career for good.

    • Zippi September 30, 2019 at 11:20 am - Reply

      In a discussion about how destructive language can be, I think it inadvisable to be using terms like “Fuehrer.”

  5. Malcolm James September 26, 2019 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    There have been reports of an attempted break-in at Jess Phillips’s constituency office. Not good, but unfortunately I feel this is a harbinger of something much, much worse. Jess Phillips is an MP I generally have little time for, but the threats against her are appalling and completely unacceptable.

  6. timfrom September 26, 2019 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Jess Phillips is a fine one to bemoan the violent language currently being used in Parliament. She made an early contribution to the trend in 2015 when, in response to talk of Labour MPs back-stabbing Jeremy Corbyn, she proudly proclaimed she’d oh-so-bravely knife him “in the front”.

    Perhaps, instead of demanding that Boris Johnson should apologise, it would behoove her to first apologise publicly to Mr Corbyn. Or else shut her big, fat, hypocrite mouth.

  7. Simon Cohen September 26, 2019 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    I think Jess Phillips is on very shaky ground here -remember her comment about Corbyn, how she would ‘stab him in the front.?’

    Different context but part of the polarisation that has led to violence.

  8. Gary September 26, 2019 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    Today our politicians argued about the argument they had last night and argued that the other side didn’t argue properly but that they DID argue properly.

    None of them have DONE anything…

  9. Chris B September 26, 2019 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Did he copy ‘the finger of death/threat trom his USA pattern card? ,Manners aint what they used to be !

Leave A Comment