“The language that politicians use matters – it has real consequences.”Jeremy Corbyn MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, speaking in response to the urgent question raised by Jess Phillips MP on the Prime Minister’s use of language, said:
Mr Speaker, I want to start by congratulating my honourable friend for Birmingham Yardley for securing this question.
It is extremely disappointing that the Prime Minister has not respected this House by attending today.
The Prime Minister’s language and demeanour yesterday was nothing short of disgraceful.
Three years ago our colleague Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right activist shouting: “Britain First. This is for Britain”.
The language that politicians use matters – it has real consequences.
To dismiss concerns from honourable members about the death threats they receive, and to dismiss concerns that the language used by the Prime Minister is being repeated in those death threats is reprehensible.
To dismiss those concerns in the abusive way that he did is unacceptable.
And I pay tribute to my honourable friends for Dewsbury and for Batley & Spen.
Today, I have written to the Parliamentary Labour Party to express my solidarity to my honourable friends and set out the conduct expected of colleagues.
No side of this House has a monopoly on virtue, inappropriate language has been used by all sides, but we all have a duty to keep our debates political not to descend into personal abuse.
I disagreed profoundly with the previous Prime Minister, but she did offer cross-party talks to try to find compromise. She also set out her approach to this House, allowing for scrutiny and debate.
I also was pleased to participate in a meeting with the former Prime Minister, and other leaders about conduct and abuse in the House and around the Estate.
The current Prime Minister has sought to entrench divisions; refused to set out any detail of the deal he is seeking; and continues to pledge that they will leave on No Deal on 31 October, despite the fact that this House has voted against and legislated against that outcome.
Not only should the Prime Minister comply with the law, he should come to this House and apologise for his conduct yesterday, which fell below the standards expected by the people of this country.
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