Labour MP confronted Dominic Cummings after receiving death threats
PUBLISHED: 19:07 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 19:25 26 September 2019
A Labour shadow minister confronted Boris Johnson’s chief aide after being told he would be put in a ‘ditch’ following Boris Johnson’s heated Commons exchange.
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Karl Turner approached Dominic Cummings, the man heralded as encouraging a "people versus parliament" strategy to push through Brexit, to call for him to dial down the "inflammatory" language used by the prime minister.
When Turner, a shadow transport minister, saw Cummings in Portcullis House - a building across the road from parliament where most MPs have their offices - he confronted him about the perceived death threats he had received.
The Hull East MP had scolded the PM in the Commons for "laughing and joking" and using "aggressive language" towards MPs while they were questioning him about the decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks, a move Supreme Court judges this week ruled unanimously to be unlawful.
He said threats then followed "overnight" that "caused me great stress".
One person on the Facebook group Yellow Vest Hull said Turner "wants putting in a ditch", echoing the PM's phrase that he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask the European Union for an Article 50 extension.
Another said they were tempted to "pay a visit" to the MP, who represents a seat that voted 72% to leave the EU.
Turner was the whip to murdered MP Jo Cox and said he fears similar violent tensions are being stoked up.
In an interview with PA, Turner said: "My wife is in Hull with my three-year-old daughter while I'm in Westminster - I take threats seriously.
"I saw Dominic Cummings in Portcullis House and I raised with him that the language adopted by the Prime Minister and others yesterday is inflammatory and causing MPs to receive death threats.
"Mr Cummings responded to me: 'Back a deal, then'.
"I then approached him and said, how is it possible for me to be criticised for not backing a deal.
"I've tried three times to back the former prime minister's deal but it wasn't good enough for me to support.
"The PM should be in Brussels negotiating a deal to bring back to parliament so people like me can support it. I'm desperate to support a deal but it must protect jobs and workers' rights."
The exchange ended, Turner said, when Cummings replied: 'I don't know who you are.'
"I said, 'I'm an MP' and I walked off."
Opposition front bench spokesman Turner said he was "truly worried" about his family's safety, having previously had a person arrive at his house in Hull to confront him.
"The reason I was provoked into making an impassioned plea for him to stop allowing the tone of the debate to be as it is, is because I am truly worried about my family," he said.
"I've had previous experiences of attacks on the house and the family and you can't decide when you see these threats whether it is a serious death threat or whether it is just someone firing off at the keyboard when they've had too much to drink. I don't know and it worries me."
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