Footage from a Conservative conference event attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson shows an audience member joking about hanging Jeremy Corbyn.
Addressing a Democratic Unionist Party reception during the Conservative conference in Manchester on Tuesday, the prime minister doubled down on his commitment to take the UK out of the European Union as a whole.
He told the audience: “Northern Ireland is part of the union with Great Britain, it is part of the United Kingdom, and let it remain so forever.”
After calling on the DUP to “get Brexit done,” he urged them to “invite that threat to the union, Jeremy Corbyn, to step quietly into a figurative rocket and then let us send him into orbit where he belongs.”
Boris Johnson at DUP reception mentions Jeremy Corbyn, starts a sentence saying “we’ll invite him to enter...”— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) October 1, 2019
Shout from the crowd: “Traitors’ gate!”
Another: “a noose!”
Some people in the crowd made even more violent jokes while Johnson was speaking.
“Traitors’ Gate”, one man shouted, referring to the entrance for convicts heading to the Tower of London, while another person simply said “Noose,” with the audience bursting into laughter.
It comes just days after police launched a probe into a banner reading “130,000 killed under Tory rule time to level the playing field,” which was hung from a Manchester bridge, alongside two dummies in nooses, in the hours before the conference.
Johnson won't tone down the Brexit rhetoric...
Also last week, Johnson was criticised in Parliament for his Brexit language. The prime minister had repeatedly referred to the law that blocks him from delivering a no-deal Brexit as a “surrender” and “betrayal,” and several MPs asked him to tone down his rhetoric citing concerns over the growing number of death threats and abuse directed at parliamentarians.
One Labour MP said the prime minister should “moderate” his language to honour the memory of Jo Cox, the lawmaker killed by an extremist just days before the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Johnson called the criticism “humbug” and said the best way to honour the late MP was to “get Brexit done.”
...but will try to get Brexit done
The Brexit debate is getting increasingly intense as the prime minister is seeking to deliver on the results of the 2016 vote at any cost. He has until 19 October to negotiate a new withdrawal agreement, with the issue of the Irish border being the key stumbling block in the negotiations.
Theresa May’s failed Brexit deal envisaged the so-called ‘Irish backstop’, a policy that would keep Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs union and single market to ensure no physical checks and infrastructure between the UK-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
The lawmakers have struck the agreement down three times, fearing that it would effectively keep the UK tied to some EU rules indefinitely and prevent the country for striking its own trade deals.
According to The Telegraph, Johnson’s new plan envisages that Northern Ireland remains in large parts of the EU single market until at least 2025, when it will decide whether to stick to EU or UK standards, but leaves the EU customs union along with the rest of the UK.
The Guardian separately reported that the Democratic Unionist Party – the Tories’ key supporters – are largely “content” with the proposals, although they will likely face opposition in Brussels and Dublin. Johnson is set to unveil the plan later in the day.