Boris Johnson said Brexit should be delivered in memory of Jo Cox in the House of Commons this evening.
Challenged to stop using inflammatory words by Labour MP Tracey Brabin, who succeeded murdered Jo Cox as MP for Batley and Spen, he said:
“The best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox and, indeed, the best way to bring this country together would be, I think, to get Brexit done.
“I absolutely do, I think it is the continuing inability of this parliament to get Brexit done that is causing the anxiety and the ill-feeling that is now rampant in our country.
“Get it done and we will solve the problem.”
Jo Cox was murdered on 16th June 2016 by a far-right extremist who believed she was a ‘traitor’.
Britain voted to leave the European Union on 23rd June, just a week after she died.
Thomas Mair, who was jailed for life for the murder, kept far-right books and Nazi memorabilia in his home.
I’m not scared of an election, I am scared I might be hurt or killed.— Jess Phillips Esq., M.P. (@jessphillips) September 25, 2019
The seeds of the hatred that drove him to murder were reported to have germinated during the febrile countdown to the EU referendum.
Brexit campaigners were claiming that a remain vote would result in “swarms” of immigrants entering the UK.
Just hours before the murder, Ukip unveiled its infamous “breaking point” anti-immigration poster.
Political commentator Kirsty Strickland said “a thug like Johnson shouldn’t even be speaking her name” in reaction to the comments.
“Children have lost their mum, and Boris Johnson ramps up the rhetoric that led to her murder, disrespects the people that knew and loved her, and then tries to use her death to make a political point. An absolute disgrace.”
Feel a bit sick at Jo’s name being used in this way. The best way to honour Jo is for all of us (no matter our views) to stand up for what we believe in, passionately and with determination. But never to demonise the other side and always hold onto what we have in common.— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) September 25, 2019
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon also reacted with fury, saying:
“As of tonight, there’s a gaping moral vacuum where the office of Prime Minister used to be.
“I didn’t know Jo Cox but I’m certain this man is not fit to speak her name”.