Brendan Cox says 'we have to stop dehumanising political opponents' after Sir David Amess murder

Both the Left and Right need to stop dehumanising each other following the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess, the widower of Jo Cox has said.

Brendan Cox, widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, told Times Radio: “You have people who say ‘I’ve never kissed a Tory’ as a badge of honour on the Left.

“It’s almost a celebration of political segregation. I think that is absolutely something that we have to challenge. And linked to that we have to stop dehumanising our opponents."

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He said he had "a very physical reaction" to the news of the attack on Sir David Amess on Friday.

Brendan Cox, the widower of Yorkshire MP Jo Cox

“I had a very physical reaction to it. I found it extremely difficult to function for a while,” he said.

“That was both from being back in that moment five years ago when I got the call from somebody in Jo’s office telling me that she had been attacked.

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“But also just knowing what that family would be going through. The pain of the desperate hope in those immediate minutes when you hope that they are not too badly hurt to then the realisation of what’s happened and the darkness and sadness of that, that is then with you for years, for the rest of your life.”

Mr Cox's comments came on Monday morning as MPs shared fresh experiences of receiving death threats.Labour’s Chris Bryant said a man has been arrested over a threat on his life after the MP for Southend West was killed while meeting constituents in Essex.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab spoke of having received at least three threats on “life and limb” in the past two years, with the latest being of an acid attack.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lead tributes in the Commons to Sir David later on Monday before MPs and peers attend a service in his honour nearby at St Margaret’s Church.

The killing of the veteran parliamentarian at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday has led to fresh scrutiny over the security of MPs.

Just a day later, Mr Bryant said he received a death threat after returning from Qatar where he has been investigating the situation faced by refugees from Afghanistan.

“I got back on Saturday and the first message in my inbox was this death threat, pretty clear, so I notified the police and they have taken action,” he told the PA news agency.

He said abuse in British politics has risen in recent years, particularly over Brexit and from anti-vaccine protesters who he said had targeted his Rhondda constituency office in the last year.

Mr Raab said colleagues – particularly women – have received “worse abuse” than himself but that he has been the victim of three recent threats that required “intervention”.

“I have had three threats to life and limb over the last two years,” the Deputy Prime Minister told BBC Breakfast.

He told ITV that the most recent threat was of “someone threatening to throw acid over me”.

Nick Thomas-Symonds told BBC Breakfast he had been subject to death threats due to his job.

“I’ve had incidents since I’ve become a member of Parliament, whether it’s intimidation while out on the streets, death threats, terrible letters, awful emails,” the Labour shadow home secretary said.

“I am in no sense alone in that. I don’t know a member of Parliament who has not suffered in that way. It’s clear that something now has to change.”

He said that he made changes to how he operated after fellow MP Jo Cox’s murder in 2016.

“I have made changes since the terrible murder of Jo Cox,” he said.

“Things like appointments for surgeries, things like being very careful of advertising where I go in advance, and I know that other members of Parliament do that now.”

He added that he hoped the wider review into MPs’ security made its report “speedily”.

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