Daughter of Yvette Cooper MP criticises language of Boris Johnson - 'I am scared when our house gets fitted with panic buttons'

Yvette Cooper. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Yvette Cooper. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

The daughter of Yvette Cooper MP has criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his language after "chilling scenes" in Parliament - revealing she is "scared when our house gets fitted with panic buttons, industrial-locking doors and explosive bags to catch the mail".

Ellie Cooper delivered a thread of more than 600 words on Twitter today saying that Mr Johnson's rhetoric "is just beyond words" and describing the moment her mother - Labour member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford - told her about party colleague Jo Cox MP being shot.

-> 'I am extremely angry but I'm not giving in' - sister of Jo Cox criticises toxic language in Parliament

Mr Johnson came under fire from MPs Paula Sherriff and Tracy Brabin for using language which was "divisive", before adding the best way of honouring the murdered Batley and Spen MP would be to "get Brexit done".

The Prime Minister had previously described the Benn Act that seeks to force him to delay Brexit beyond October 31 if no deal has been found as the "Surrender Act” - and dismissed an indignant Ms Sherriff's concerns as "humbug".

Speaker of the House John Bercow said this morning (Thursday) said that "the culture was toxic" and asked both sides to "treat each other as opponents and not as enemies".

-> Boris Johnson’s contempt for Yorkshire MPs over language and their safety after death threats shows PM is unfit to hold any office – Tom Richmond

Posting this afternoon, Ellie said: "I rarely actually tweet, especially about politics - am more of the silent retweeter - but after the chilling scenes in Parliament last night I just don’t think I can stay quiet anymore. There’s a group of young people and children that need to be spoken for.

"The language used by our Prime Minister - not a far-right populist or provocative journalist, but our Prime Minister - is just beyond words.

"The fact that the head of our government is actually using language that helps incite violence toward MPs is so beyond dangerous I can’t even comprehend it in a modern society.

"This isn’t funny any more. Whatever egotistical game Boris Johnson has been playing since he was at Eton, this isn’t entitled teenagers standing blindly by their positions in an attempt to one-up their friends anymore.

"This of rising hatred [sic] is costing people their lives. I was 17 when Jo Cox was murdered. I just rang my mum, who is Yvette Cooper, on my way home from school to complain about the usual things and I distinctly remember her interrupting me to say “An MP’s been shot.”

"I can honestly say my perspective of the world completely changed that day. Before then, my mum’s job was something that kept her working later then bedtime when I was a kid, the source of embarrassing conversations at school, the reason we travelled to and fro between Yorkshire and London every week for the first two thirds of my life. It was never something that could get her killed.

"I am scared. I am scared when I scroll through the replies to her tweets calling her a liar and a traitor. I am scared when our house gets fitted with panic buttons, industrial-locking doors and explosive bags to catch the mail.

"I am scared because on the 16th of June 2016, two children said goodbye to their mother before she left for her constituency to sit in surgeries and help people all day, and never saw her again. I am scared every single day that the same will happen to mine.

"Because she is trying her best to help people. To make their lives better. Even if we disagree with our politicians, when was this something we actively wanted to hurt them for?"

She continued by saying "of course Brexit is contentious" and would lead to strong conflicts of opinion, adding: "But what we need now is a Prime Minister who can stand up and say 'Yes I want to deliver Brexit, but regardless of my position, this inflammatory and aggressive language needs to stop. We need to treat each other with humanity and respect.'

"Boris Johnson, take a stand. It’s your job to unite the country.

"Or you will be responsible for putting other people’s lives at risk. Surely you can raise your head out of the sand enough to see that much?

"This whole thing has gone too far. When people start getting hurt is the moment that we should step back and ask if any of this is even worth it. All the anger and the screaming and the taking sides. The traitors and the liars and the surrendering.

"Why has this become a matter of life and death? Does someone have to die for us all to realise that we have gotten in far too deep and far too aggressively?

"The thing is, someone already has died. Do we not have the decency and compassion to see that? Can we not all just treat each other like people again?

"Because I’m terrified if we don’t that something awful is going to happen again. At this rate, that seems like the only thing that could stop us in our tracks. We need to change the way we act towards our MPs before it goes too far because if not I have no doubt it will."

After the post, Mrs Cooper said: "We get used to handling all the things that get thrown at us, but it’s harder to see it through your children’s eyes. I am very proud of my brave daughter."

Ellie is the sister of Maddy and Joel, the other children of Mrs Cooper and former Labour frontbencher Ed Balls.