September 26, 2019
Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings has told a Labour MP who complained about death threats that he should vote for a Brexit deal.
Dominic Cummings Told Labour MP Who Complained About Death Threat To Vote For Brexit
Shadow transport minister Karl Turner told HuffPost UK that he had raised with Cummings the prime minister’s use of inflammatory language and his dismissal of MPs’ fears about safety.
In a chance meeting in Portcullis House in the House of Commons on Thursday, Turner spotted the Downing Street adviser and told him how he had overnight received a chilling message on Facebook that he should be “in a ditch”.
The remark was an echo of Johnson’s recent claim on a visit to Yorkshire that he would rather “be dead in a ditch” than delay Brexit.
In response to Turner’s complaint, the Downing Street adviser said: “Get Brexit done.”"I've had death threats overnight... it's a disgrace"Labour MP Karl Turner's staff film an encounter with Boris Johnson's senior adviser, Dominic Cummingshttps://t.co/2JL9D2WW2fpic.twitter.com/agGnyOiUMR— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 26, 2019 Sign up now to get The Waugh Zone, our weekday evening politics briefing, by email.
An angry Turner then approached Cummings to say “Don’t tell me to get Brexit done!” He said he would vote for a deal if there was a credible one on offer.
As the shadow minister walked away, the PM’s adviser said “I don’t know who you are”, to which Turner replied “I’m an MP”.
A Tory source told HuffPost: “A number of MPs shouted at Dom, he did not shout back at anybody but calmly suggested to all of them that they should respect their promise to respect the referendum result.”Johnson sparked uproar on Wednesday night after he dismissed as “humbug” a complaint by Labour MP Paula Sherriff that many of those who abused MPs took their lead from his own terminology about betrayal and surrender.
He also told another MP that “the best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox” would be to get Brexit done. The PM also said that “the best way to ensure that every parliamentarian is properly safe..is to get Brexit done.”
Johnson has refused to apologise, although in a BBC regional interview on Thursday he said he “totally deplores any threats to anybody, particularly female MPs”. He added: “I need, to reach out across the House of Commons to get people.”
His remark came as Labour MP Jess Phillips revealed a man had been arrested after trying to “kick the door” of her constituency office while reportedly shouting that she was a “fascist”.
And in a further development, the daughter of Yvette Cooper revealed on Twitter she is “scared every single day” for her mother’s safety.The Turner-Cummings incident happened as Johnson was addressing the Tory backbench 1922 Committee in Portcullis House.
During the meeting, the PM won support from his colleagues for his stance on using the phrase ‘Surrender Act’ to describe a new law that forces him to delay Brexit beyond October 31.
Turner told HuffPost UK that his frustration boiled over when he saw Cummings in Westminster, waiting for his boss.
“Overnight I had a death threat and it’s not a very nice one and I don’t know whether it’s serious or not, but it basically says ‘you need to be dead in a ditch’.
“A few years ago I had an incident in my house in Hull where a man burst into the house and assaulted me and I needed an injunction to prevent him.
“The truth is this, when I get threats against me which we all get, and my wife is in Hull and I’m here [in Westminster], I worry.
“There’s been a couple of times when my wife has been followed the nursery with our daughter and I’m in London. I get incredibly worried about it.
“So I saw Cummings and I said to him the language that has been used, the tone of it is dreadful, it’s causing death threats to be made against colleagues and I’ve had death threats overnight myself. Dominic’s response was: you should back a deal, then.”
A video of the incident shows Cummings saying “Get Brexit done.”
Turner, a former criminal barrister and shadow attorney general, said: “I lost my temper slightly at that because the immediate implication for me was ‘if you don’t want death threats then vote for Brexit’.
“So I approached him and said I’ve tried to vote for a deal three times. The only deal that’s been offered is the former prime minister’s deal which frankly I didn’t think was good enough for me to support.
“But if the prime minister was doing his job properly in Brussels negotiating a deal to bring back, I’d support it if it was a good deal. And I walked away at that. As I was walking away he said ‘Who are you?’. I said ‘I’m an MP.’.”
“With hindsight I regret it if I’m honest, this stuff should be reserved for the chamber. Cummings isn’t like any other special adviser I suppose but he’s still a special adviser.”
Cummings has hit the headlines last month after another appearance in Portcullis House, when he was seen carrying a glass of wine and shouted at a passing Jeremy Corbyn why he hadn’t agreed to a general election.
Johnson faced heavy criticism from his own sister, Rachel, for his use of language.
She said: “I think it was a very tasteless way of referring to the memory of a murdered MP, murdered by someone who said ‘Britain first’, of the far-right tendency, which you could argue is being whipped up by this sort of language.”Related... Why Johnson May Come To Regret His 'Surrender Act' Rhetoric Now Boris Johnson's Sister Puts The Boot In And Accuses Him Of Using Commons As A ‘Bully Pulpit’ Jacob Rees-Mogg Calls Supreme Court Ruling A 'Constitutional Coup' Make sense of politics. Sign up to the Waugh Zone and get the political day in a nutshell.
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