UK Politics

Yvette Cooper's daughter says she is 'scared' in plea to PM

Yvette Cooper, Labour MP Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ellie Cooper is the daughter of Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, pictured

The daughter of an MP has said she is "scared every single day" for her mother's safety, in an emotional plea to politicians over their language.

Ellie Cooper, whose parents are Labour MP Yvette Cooper and ex-MP Ed Balls, said she is terrified "something awful" like Jo Cox's murder could be repeated.

"I am scared when our house gets fitted with panic buttons... and explosive bags to catch the mail," she tweeted.

It comes as the PM was criticised for his words used in Wednesday's debate.

Both Yvette Cooper and Mr Balls - who was an MP until 2015 - responded to Ellie's tweets, saying they were "proud" of their daughter.

"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," she said.

'Perspective of world changed'

In a lengthy Twitter thread posted on Thursday afternoon, Ellie Cooper said the language of Boris Johnson was "just beyond words".

She writes: "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 than 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."

She adds: "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."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Ed Balls, who was an MP until 2015, and Yvette Cooper when they were both in cabinet in 2010

Ms Cooper said "of course people have strong opinions" but called on Mr Johnson to "take a stand" to call for an end to "inflammatory and aggressive language".

She described the scenes in the House of Commons on Wednesday - which was the first time MPs had returned to Parliament since it was prorogued - as "chilling".

The debate descended into rowdiness on Wednesday evening, with several MPs criticising the prime minister for his language and urging him to refrain from using words like "surrender".

Mr Johnson had called the legislation which aims to block a no-deal Brexit a "surrender bill".

The prime minister has also been urged to apologise for saying the best way to honour Ms Cox - who was killed in Birstall, West Yorkshire in 2016 - was to "get Brexit done".

Brendan Cox, the husband of Ms Cox, also said he had been shocked by the language used and the Brexit debate had become a "bear pit of polarisation".

Mr Johnson has refused to apologise for his language.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Johnson defended his words and insisted he "deplores any threats to anybody, particularly female MPs" and said "tempers need to come down" in Parliament.

When asked if he was apologising for his language, he said: "Obviously I'm deeply sorry for the threats that MPs face and I think it's very important we look after them, particularly look after female MPs."

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Media captionJohnson "deplores threats" against MPs but doesn't apologise for his use of language

He added that the death of Jo Cox was an "absolute tragedy".

"But it's also important to protect the right of MPs to speak freely in the House of Commons about important political matters and the fact of the so-called Benn Act is that it surrenders our powers," he added.

Tory chairman James Cleverly has called criticism of the PM "deeply unfair".

He said the debate over Brexit in the House of Commons had generated "a huge amount of temper on both sides", adding: "The best thing we can do to calm things down is to get it delivered, get it resolved."

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