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Husband of murdered lawmaker decries 'inferno of rhetoric' in UK politics

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:19s - Published
Husband of murdered lawmaker decries 'inferno of rhetoric' in UK politics

Husband of murdered lawmaker decries 'inferno of rhetoric' in UK politics

The husband of Jo Cox, a British lawmaker murdered before the Brexit referendum in 2016, has urged the UK parliament to step back from a vicious cycle of language that he says makes violence and attacks more likely.

David Doyle reports.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HUSBAND OF LATE JO COX MP, BRENDAN COX, SAYING: "What isn't acceptable is to demonize each other to build a culture of hatred." That's Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered British lawmaker Jo Cox who was killed a week before the UK's 2016 Brexit referendum by a loner obsessed with Nazis and extreme right wing ideology.

On Wednesday (September 25) night, her name was invoked in British parliament amid a vitriolic exchanges over Brexit.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LABOUR PARTY LAWMAKER, PAULA SHERRIFF, SAYING: "And we stand here, Mr. Speaker, under the shield of our departed friend, with many of us in this place subject to death threats and abuse every single day.

And let me tell the prime minister that they often quote his words - 'Surrender Act,' 'betrayal,' 'traitor.'

And I for one am sick of it." Prime Minister Boris Johnson's opponents accuse him of stoking divisions in the UK with his language.

His was response drew shouts of "shame".

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "I have to say, Mr. Speaker, I have never heard such humbug in all my life.

The reality is that this is a bill..." (JOHNSON DROWNED OUT BY OPPOSITION LAWMAKERS SHOUTING "Shame")" On Thursday (September 26), Cox said said the growing inferno of rhetoric creates an atmosphere where violence and attacks are more likely.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HUSBAND OF LATE JO COX MP, BRENDAN COX, SAYING: "This isn't just about the debate in Parliament, this is about the fact that this morning when I came here I had to find and I had to find somebody to look after my kids because Jo's not here.

And if I was doing something early in the morning she would've looked after them and she's not here.

And I think all of us have a duty to remember that those words that we throw across in rhetoric can have real world consequences and all of us on all sides of the political debate take a deep breath and step back from this from this descent into polarization which is not what our country is about." As lawmakers returned to parliament on Thursday the Speaker of the House, John Bercow, said the House of Commons had done itself no credit.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BERCOW, SAYING: "On both sides, passions were inflamed.

Angry words were uttered.

The culture was toxic." He urged lawmakers, as they tackle the most challenging issue for British politics in decades, to treat each other as opponents, not enemies.




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