Alan Sugar has described female MPs who criticised Boris Johnson for his comments about murdered MP Jo Cox as ‘ranting women’ and has said it is they who should apologise to the prime minister.
Johnson has refused to apologise for saying that the best way to honour the Remain-supporting MP was to “get Brexit done”, and has rejected calls to temper his language.
He has received criticism from Labour MPs including Paula Sherriff, Jess Phillips and Tracy Brabin.
Sherriff remonstrated with Johnson in the Commons chamber, saying he should be “ashamed” of his “offensive, dangerous language”.
She added: “We stand here, Mr Speaker, under the shield of our departed friend, with many of us in this place subject to death threats and abuse every single day”.
After she told Johnson that people often quote him when they harass MPs with phrases like “Surrender Act” “betrayal” and “traitor”, the prime minister said: “I never heard such humbug in all my life.”
Lord Sugar wrote on Twitter: “I am not getting the reason for demanding Boris to apologise. It was the ranting women who first brought Joe Cox [sic] name up in the chamber.
“The woman in particiluar ranted like an insane person. If anyone should apologise it should be her. She was addressing the PM of the UK.”
Cox was killed by a man with far-right sympathies just days before the 2016 EU referendum.
Later, a man was arrested for trying to smash the windows and kick in the door of MP Jess Phillips’ Birmingham Yardley constituency office.
While she said she would not “leap to blame” Johnson for that incident – which saw staff lock themselves in for their own safety – she accused him of pursuing a “specific strategy” to provoke hatred.
“What he is doing is not human. It is manipulative, it is purposeful, it is his strategy. He wants people like me to be under threat,” she said.
Labour’s Tracy Brabin, who succeeded Mrs Cox as MP for Batley and Spen, said Mr Johnson needed to remember “his words have consequences”.
“He just proved that he has no emotional intelligence, because then to say that the best thing we can do to remember Jo is ‘to get Brexit done’ when Jo was a passionate Remainer – only the day before her tragic murder she was on the Thames with her family campaigning to stay in the EU – it just seemed extraordinary,” Brabin told BBC Radio 5 Live.