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PA
UK News

Bishop laments Boris Johnson's 'destructive and distressing' language

Rt Rev Nick Baines, who represents the Church of England on Brexit, issued a statement after Boris Johnson batted away questions about his use of language in the House of Commons.

Labour's Paula Sherriff initially criticised Mr Johnson for his repeated use of "surrender act" when describing legislation designed to prevent ministers forcing through a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

She warned against using such language and mentioned murdered MP Jo Cox before highlighting that many of her colleagues are subjected to death threats and abuse.

But Mr Johnson labelled her remarks "humbug", which prompted an angry response in the chamber - with shouts of "shame" emerging.

The Prime Minister later suggested the best way to honour Jo Cox was to get Brexit done and unite the country.

Speaker John Bercow said the culture in the Commons on Wednesday was "toxic", adding it was "worse than any I have known in my 22 years in the House".

REX

Addressing the scenes in parliament, Bishop Nick said: "The language used in the House of Commons last night is probably unprecedented. Drawing the name of a murdered MP into the fight was, at the very least, questionable. To describe the contribution of female MPs, pleading with the PM to moderate his language in the light of violence and death threats, as 'humbug' is appalling.

"The Prime Minister has a particular and weighty responsibility in our current crisis to lead by example. A fundamental element of strong leadership, rooted in character, is to demonstrate humility. The language he is using is destructive and has caused distress. An apology would be in order. More importantly, he needs to lead a recalibration of language, mood and relationship. What we are witnessing currently is the further corruption of our public discourse and the norms of democratic debate."

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