PM wrong to use Jo Cox’s name in that way, says sister of murdered MP

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The sister of murdered MP Jo Cox has called on prime minister Boris Johnson to reflect on his language, saying he was wrong to tell MPs they should honour her sister’s memory by delivering Brexit.

Kim Leadbeater said she was “mesmerised and dumbstruck” as she watched the events in the Commons on 25 September.

There was uproar in the house as the prime minister rejected calls to temper his language, and said the best way to honour ardent Remainer Cox was to “get Brexit done”.

Johnson had dismissed as “humbug” Labour MP Paula Sherriff’s claim that like Cox, who was killed by a man with far-right sympathies just days before the 2016 referendum, many MPs faced death threats from people using the same sort of language as the prime minister.

Leadbeater told Sky News: “I think he probably got it wrong.

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“I think the humbug comment was wrong and I think to use Jo’s name in that way was wrong.

“What I hope is that he has some time to reflect on that and think about it.”

She said: “But I think the point he was making, and I always try to be objective and try and be fair about these things, is that people want an end to this chaos, and I agree with him in that respect.”

Leadbeater accepted it was a heated debate and that people do make mistakes.

“I hope he has some time to reflect on what he said and realise that possibly it wasn’t the best thing to say under those circumstances,” she added.

Leadbeater said: “I watched Parliament TV for four hours last night and I was mesmerised and dumbstruck by the scenes that I saw before me.”

She added: “I’m hoping, from some of the conversations that are taking place this morning, that things will be slightly calmer going forward in the coming days and the coming weeks.

“But I’m very clear that we all have a responsibility to think about the language we use, the way we treat each other and the way we speak to each other on a human level.

“But I’m also very clear that the last thing I want, and the last thing Jo would want, is for her name to be used in a way that silences debate.”

Cox’s widower, Brendan Cox, has said he felt “a bit sick” at the way her name was being used.

“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,” he tweeted on 25 September.

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