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UK PM Boris Johnson's Sister Criticises His 'Tasteless' Language

Rachel Johnson told Sky News that his talk of 'surrender' for those opposed to Brexit -- who include herself -- was 'highly reprehensible'.

Associated Press

Updated:September 26, 2019, 10:14 PM IST
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UK PM Boris Johnson's Sister Criticises His 'Tasteless' Language
Rachel Johnson, sister of UK PM Boris Johnson (Reuters)

London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's sister on Thursday criticised him for "tasteless" remarks about a murdered MP, adding to a chorus of disapproval at the language he uses when discussing Brexit.

Rachel Johnson told Sky News that his talk of "surrender" for those opposed to Brexit -- who include herself -- was "highly reprehensible".

Her comments came after a highly charged parliamentary debate on Wednesday night, in which opposition MPs criticised the premier for using "dangerous" and divisive language as he defended his EU strategy.

His sister particularly criticised Johnson's remark that the best way to honour Jo Cox, an opposition Labour lawmaker murdered by a Nazi sympathiser during the 2016 EU referendum campaign, was to deliver Brexit.

"I think it was particularly tasteless for those who are grieving a mother, MP and friend to say the best way to honour her memory is to deliver the thing she and her family campaigned against -- Brexit," Rachel Johnson said.

She said a lot of the heated rhetoric around Brexit "was initiated in the tabloids", citing headlines condemning as "saboteurs" MPs who opposed leaving the EU, and judges who found against the government as "enemies of the people".

"My brother is using words like 'surrender' and 'capitulation' as if the people standing in the way of the blessed will of the people, as defined by the 17.4 million votes in 2016, should be hung, drawn, quartered, tarred, and feathered," she said.

"I think that is highly reprehensible.... It serves no purpose." Rachel Johnson, the premier's younger sister, is a journalist who stood unsuccessfully for the European parliament earlier this year with pro-EU party Change UK.

Her comments come just weeks after their brother Jo, who also opposes Brexit, resigned as universities minister from his brother's government. He said he could no longer reconcile "family loyalty and national interest".

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