Former Tory cabinet minister Amber Rudd has accused Downing Street of using language that could “incite violence”.
It follows a stormy week, in which several MPs criticised the PM’s use of language during Commons debates. After the Supreme Court ruled that the Prime Minister’s suspension of parliament was unlawful.
The 11 judges in the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the decision to prorogue parliament unlawfully prevented it from carrying out its constitutional role without good reason, and was null and void.
Boris Johnson argued at the time that the move had nothing to do with Brexit, and was standard procedure to allow the government formally to set out its agenda in a new parliamentary session.
Since then, the tension in the House has been visible, ministers quibbling and arguing, more than usual with tempered exchanges, at times on the borderline of being disrespectful and insensitive.
Opening proceedings on Thursday, Speaker John Bercow described the exchanges as “toxic”.
The MP, who quit the Conservative parliamentary party earlier this month, told the Evening Standard No 10’s recent words were seen to encourage a “more aggressive approach”.
Boris Johnson has insisted he “deplores any threats to anybody”.
Speaking on a visit to the Prince Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, where he announced £200m extra for NHS cancer-screening equipment, he said any intimidation of MPs was “appalling”.
Johnson caused outrage with a dismissive response to an appeal to tone down his language and recall the fate of the murdered MP Jo Cox. The best way to honour her memory and bring the country together, he said, was to “get Brexit done”.
And he vilified opponents of his Brexit strategy, rejecting appeals to change tack to heal divisions in the country. The best way to achieve that, he repeated, was to deliver the result of the EU referendum.
Some of the premier’s supporters, however, have defended his performance – accusing opposition politicians of being abusive too.
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