Theresa May urged to withdraw whip from MP behind 'violent' comments in Brexit row

An anti-Brexit campaigner dressed as Theresa May waves European Union flags during the People's Vote March for the Future in London on Saturday. Picture by Yui Mok, Press Association
Harriet Line and Dan O'Donoghue, Press Association

Theresa May has been urged to withdraw her party's whip from an MP who used "violent language" to describe a possible coup to unseat her.

Weekend newspapers reported Tory backbenchers saying the prime minister would be "knifed" and that she should "bring her own noose" to a meeting with MPs to discuss her Brexit plans.

MPs from across the Commons lined up to condemn the comments, with Conservative former Brexit minister Steve Baker calling for disciplinary action.

"The person or persons who directed violent language at [Mrs May] have thoroughly disgraced themselves," he said.

"I very much hope that they are discovered and I hope that she will withdraw the whip from them."

Mrs May thanked Mr Baker for the "supportive comments he's made about the language that was used at the weekend".

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was among those who criticised the remarks, saying he hoped the debate following the prime minister's statement on the October EU Council would be conducted "without some of the language reported in the press over the weekend".

Mrs May responded: "I think it is incumbent on all of us in public life to be careful about the language we use, there are passionate beliefs and passionate views that are held on this subject and other subjects but whatever the subject is we should all be careful about our language."

Yvette Cooper, Labour chair of the Home Affairs Committee, criticised what she described as "violent, dehumanising and frankly misogynistic language".

While Conservative former home secretary Amber Rudd said she hoped there would not be "any sort of language like that in the future".

The PM's official spokesman earlier said Mrs May expected those in public life to avoid "dehumanising" and "derogatory" language.

"I don't intend to dignify those specific anonymous comments with a response," the spokesman told a regular Westminster media briefing.

"The prime minister has always been very clear that we must set a tone in public discourse that is neither dehumanising nor derogatory.

"Personal vitriol has no place in our politics."

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