Stalybridge councillor apologises for Jo Cox Tweet

STALYBRIDGE councillor Liam Billington has apologised after a Tweet mentioning murdered MP Jo Cox.

Anger was caused during a Parliamentary debate on Wednesday, September 25 as Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned after its prorogation was ruled unlawful by the UK Supreme Court.

Labour MP Paula Sheriff raised Mrs Cox’s death in the House of Commons as she said: “We should not resort to using offensive, dangerous or inflammatory language for legislation that we do not like.

“We stand here under the shield of our departed friend, with many of us subject to death threats and abuse every single day.

“And let me tell the prime minister that they often quote his words: surrender act, betrayal, traitor. I for one am sick of it. We must moderate our language and it has to come from the prime minister first.”

Mr Johnson caused anger by replying with, ‘I’ve never heard such humbug in all my life,’ and later saying: “The best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox is to get Brexit done.”

Stalybridge South Conservative councillor Billington’s message inflamed many people’s feelings.

The Tameside Council member wrote: “Anyone would have thought Jo Cox was a saint.”

Conservative MP Sir Desmond Swayne described Cllr Billington’s Tweet on national radio as ‘beneath contempt.’

Now he has apologised after receiving several messages from people offended by what he wrote.

Cllr Billington said: “The comment was not made against Jo Cox. I absolutely detest what happened to her.

“My comment was aimed at MPs in Parliament who were using her name in the Brexit debate. I should have made this clearer.

“I apologise profusely for any upset I have caused as this was not my intention.”

Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, West Yorkshire, was murdered in June 2016 by far-right sympathiser Thomas Mair.

Her husband, Brendan, hit out at what happened in Parliament, saying: “What happened was a reflection of a much wider willingness to demean each other.

“it creates an environment where the sort of thing that happened to Jo becomes more likely.”

Her sister, Kim Leadbeater, added: “I was mesmerised and dumbstruck by the scenes.”

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