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.
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