17/06/2016 Newsnight


Emily Maitlis presents coverage of the aftermath of the killing of MP Jo Cox.

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Tonight, a vigil in Westminster to pay respects to the MP


We hear from her Labour colleague, who warned Westminster chiefs


several times more security was needed for MPs.


I don't think that the system is right at the moment to be able to


I've said in terms, an MP will be shot, this


Referendum campaigning continues to be suspended.


We ask if this marks a turning point in the way democracy


The Shadow Leader of the House has told Newsnight


he repeatedly voiced grave concerns about the security of MPs


Chris Bryant said he had even told Westminster security chiefs that


an MP could get shot unless they were offered greater


Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen, was killed on her


constituency doorstep in broad daylight yesterday.


Tonight, West Yorkshire Police say links to right-wing


extremism will form part of their investigation,


and the man found at the scene of the crime remains


There is plenty of speculation about the killer's mental


health and motivation, but at this stage, very little fact.


We'll hear from Chris Bryant in a moment,


but our first report tonight comes from John Sweeney, in Batley.


The mood is not just melancholic but anxious, too,


as a West Yorkshire market town and the whole of British


politics struggles to come to terms with the loss of an extraordinary


You can see the impact that the murder of Jo Cox has had


referendum campaign, which has been suspended,


the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have


come to Batley to pay their respects.


We should recognise that politics is about public service,


They want to act in the national interest, to pursue the national


interest, to do things for other people, to make the country


Politicians disagree with each other.


We often disregard what politicians say and we disregard each


that is what it is about and that is what Jo showed it is all about.


In her memory, we will not allow those people that spread hatred


We will strengthen our democracy, strengthen our free speech.


I'm deeply sorry and deeply sad at what has happened to her.


The flag on the sports and social club is flying at half-mast.


This woman had heard the shots that killed Jo yesterday.


I heard loads of screaming and I thought someone had


Then the next thing, gunshots and somebody screaming


and all of Birstall were just running that way.


I thought it were a random, somebody were getting shot, you know,


Just a normal, down-to-earth Yorkshire girl, yeah, a


She was from Heckmondwike, just down the road.


My grandchildren talk about all the time.


My grandchildren talk about her all the time.


She visits the mosque that they attend.


They just can't stop talking about her now.


So what do we know about the prime suspect, Tommy Mair?


Neighbours speak of a quiet loner, who reportedly had attended


a daycare centre for people with mental health issues.


The 52-year-old subscribe to the proapartheid South Africa Patriot


magazine in the 1990s. -- in the 1980s.


In 1999, he was linked to the American neo-Nazi group,


National Alliance, buying gun manuals and instructions


In all, Mair spent $620 on the Alliance.


Newsnight understands that a UK distributor for


National Alliance material was set up in 1990 in Leeds.


On current evidence, Mair's interest in the far


right petered out more than a decade ago.


However, tonight, West Yorkshire Police's Acting Chief


Constable, Dee Collins, said that Mair's far-right links are a


None of this will bring much comfort to Jo's


You are a politician. Do you feel safe?


I'm about to go off and do two surgeries this afternoon,


as politicians and Members of Parliament up and down


the country will be doing, week in, week out.


We sit down and people come and see us.


They cry, they tell us their stories,


they want a helping hand and a listening ear.


They want someone to try and support them.


That is a very precious part of our democratic life.


And so this attack on Jo was also an attack on our


democracy, because it is important that our elected representatives


But is it going to change the way in which we do our job?


No it isn't, because we are going to carry on because that is the best


way in which we can honour the memory of Jo


Tonight, people gathered across Britain to honour the memory of a


public servant whose life was cut far too short.


The daylight murder of an MP in her own constituency backyard


has thrown the question of security sharply into focus.


One man who has long warned that MPs were a vulnerable target was Chris


He spoke to our political editor, Nick Watt,


A lot of us have been arguing, I've been arguing in Parliament


for quite some time, that of course it's important


to make sure the Palace of Westminster itself is secure,


but actually the real risk in many cases would be


Whether they are in their surgery, or for that matter,


And of course nobody wants to lose the precious jewel in the British


democratic system which is, unlike an MP in Spain or whatever,


you can go and see your MP, in many cases without even making


And every single one of us wants to preserve that,


but I think there needs to be a proper risk assessment


I'm aware, especially since November last year,


there have been a very large number of individual threats


through from the stupid child on Twitter, through to much


We need to have a proper assessment of that.


A proper risk assessment in every constituency.


You have been raising concerns for some months now about the threat


to the security of MPs, not really at Westminster but


There are 43 police forces, and even within police forces


they have been reacting very, very differently according


So sometimes two MPs in different constituencies next door to each


other have been given conflicting advice.


And for that matter, there is no coordination from the centre.


There was meant to be, in January, every single MP


was meant to be contacted by their borough commander to have


I'd be surprised if a fifth of MPs had had contact


I think some senior MPs, the House of Commons commission,


you sit on that, it's a cross-party body,


some members of the commission have issued some strong warnings


They have been saying watch out, something could happen?


I've said in terms, an MP will be shot, this will happen.


And the truth is, we all know we can't guarantee that something


like this won't happen again, but we need to make sure we've taken


Not over-the-top precautions, just sensible precautions,


to maintain that relationship with the MP with his or her


constituents and maintain that in a secure way.


How do you feel that you issued that very strong warning and you've now


lost a dear friend and this action wasn't taken?


It's very, very difficult for anybody when they lose


a colleague, especially somebody like Jo.


And it's always very, very difficult for us to get


the policing arrangements right that fit every single circumstance.


But I'm just aware that probably every MP


in the land will have had, over the years, five,


six, seven different forms of death threats,


different forms of maybe attacks, and knowing which ones to take


really, really seriously, which ones to ignore,


that is a really difficult thing to do.


I think, I wish, I hope now that all the security services,


all the 43 police services in the land will come


together and say, you know, we are going to make sure


When you raised these concerns about the security of MPs,


was this because you obviously have personal experience of very


aggressive social media attacks, or was it more about specific events


in particular that controversial vote we had


There was a lot of stuff immediately after Syria.


To be honest, I don't know an MP who hasn't ended up with a stalker


in prison or somebody lobbing things through the office window,


But it has been particularly bad in the last few months,


I would hate the idea that there be a young person


of real talent out there, who is thinking of going


into politics, who would be frightened of doing so.


Of course, you have got to have thick skin in politics, I get that.


But often you're making a decision, not only for yourself,


but also for your family and for the people who work for you.


So, sometimes people might think we are being overly cautious,


but it's not really about us, it is about a wider set of people.


Obviously, you have concerns about the slow response,


but on this cross-party commission you sit with other MPs,


Do you think the government has been aware of these concerns


I know that my opposite number in the government shares


It may be that government or the Home Office needs to play


a specific role in making sure there is a proper coordination


of risk assessments for all the MPs in the land.


And that, for instance, when it is decided every borough


commander should get in touch with all the MPs on their patch,


Because otherwise there is a real danger that things will


MP Chris Bryant speaking to us from his home, there.


Referendum campaigning has been suspended these past few days.


Many are welcoming the relief the silence has brought.


The rhetoric on both sides, many would agree,


got to a fever pitch - threat, exaggeration,


The question is, has that gone for good now,


Chris Cook reports from the south coast on whether Jo Cox's death


will mark a turning point in the campaign


and in the way we view our Members of Parliament.


We have been here in Bognor for the past few days,


interviewing people for a film on the EU referendum.


But even before the terrible events in Yorkshire,


we were really struck by the venom that was felt by the people


we interviewed about our MPs and the Westminster elite.


So today, we gathered together some people from the town to talk


about whether this terrible event might actually change some


of the ways that people talk about their MPs and how


Everyone was, of course, appalled by the murder and sincerely


I think people forget the saddest part of this is her two


children and her husband, and her parents.


They praised Ms Cox but when asked what words they would use


about the average MP, they tended to be quite critical.


Is it possible in your experience that politicians are generally quite


good, they are better than we give them credit


for when you actually come across them, and they


Certainly, some politicians, I mean, we see on local social media,


some local, I would not say politicians but councillors


particularly will get quite a hard time, when I know that


in the background, they are doing a lot of good work


and they are actually trying their best to get


One of the things we hear a lot is, "I don't like politicians


but we're lucky here, we have got good ones in my local


If everyone thinks that, they might actually be quite good.


Everyone thinks their local politicians are quite good and maybe


But it is when you get up to Parliament and things like that,


I think generally, local MPs try to do their best for the local


Unfortunately, they are wrapped up by the system and it is the system


People can be elected with all the aspirations


of wanting to make change, but they get into the system


and find that sometimes, I've found it myself,


Chris, do you think this terrible news from Yorkshire,


do you think it will change the way people think about


I'm not sure that it will, to be honest.


It depends, again, it's going to depend on how it is spun,


I think, how the media and politicians actually use it.


It is horrible to say but it will get used.


But I don't see that it is going to change politics particularly.


I don't think it is going to change it at all.


I think everybody is going to step back and think, but beyond that,


I do feel that the country needs to reflect on that,


on politicians and the role they play in the community.


Do you think it's possible that it might change the way people vote


No? I don't think so.


As I say, it depends on the analysis of the reasons for the attack.


But I can see that people will be using it to use the racism angle,


the immigration angle, in their arguments.


Both the Leave campaign and the In campaign certainly need


to reflect on what has happened and how they conduct themselves


in the next few days, running up to the election.


I would hope the politicians will take note of it


and that they will be more thoughtful about their comments


The conclusion of that conversation matches pretty closely


with what we have heard from other local people in the past day.


Yes, this was an unspeakable tragedy but no, they don't expect the public


to change their views of MPs as a result and no,


they don't expect politics to change bring much, either.


they don't expect politics to change very much, either.


Let's talk through some of the last 24 hours


with Danny Finkelstein, Jo Berry, whose father Sir Anthony Berry,


the MP, was killed by an IRA bomb and Douglas Murray of The Spectator.


Thank you all very much for coming. John, you have a personal respect if


on this, your father was killed by terrorism. I wonder from the ashes


of tragedy, you feel positive change can come from a moment like this? I


feel very deeply, the words of Jo's Husband, we need to unite against


hatred and that has been my journey since 1984, to bring compassion and


empathy, something positive out of it. To not carry on with the cycle


of revenge. This is a time we need to act in a way which is empathy and


understanding. I have just come from sharing with hat-trick McGee, 50


young people. We have worked together. We have different beliefs,


different political beliefs, but we can listen to each other with


respect, despite what has happened between us. You describe your


positive attitude, do you think that came back to you, did something


shift in terms of how you felt politics was being done? Is it too


big a question for terrorism perhaps? We need to bring a change


in politics. Danny, do you think this will mark a changing point? It


is a heart breaking thing to say this, but no, I don't really think


it will. Jo Cox were such an inspiring person to everyone who


knew her and everyone who is learning of her example, that he


would hope it would teach more of the values of compassion and


understanding and also commitment that she showed. Do I think it is


really going to change political debates? Sadly, I think the


experience is, these news stories and events make a huge impact.


People think at the time, got to do better and then it will slide. My


cool analysis would be, in time, it won't make the impact it deserves to


make. Any event that reminds us to behave well towards each other, to


engage in civilised discussion at an intelligent level, it is always


worth clinging onto, especially when it is something soap tragic and one


is desperate of something but to come out of something so awful.


Also, the Milly Dowell a moment or the Alan Kirtley moment, the picture


of the little Kurdish boy, do you have a sense we are at a shift in


point, or conduct will change as a result of this? I agree with Danny.


Things will pause. There is a pause at the moment and an absolutely


necessary reflection. This shouldn't be anybody involved in politics in


the country, who isn't thinking about that. I don't think anybody in


the country isn't thinking about that now, reflect on, thinking about


the politics we have, some of the behaviour, whether it is right or


not. This is necessary to have that pause. Also that we pause to


remember her work. But Danny says, things do move on and it is


important, we cannot give an individual gunmen, a murderer, a


terrorist of whatever ideological insanity they have, we cannot did


somebody like that the right to decide how we have our democracy and


how we debate and... One of your colleagues at the Spectator wrote


this week, we should cancel, not just the campaigning but the


referendum? I have some sympathy for that because it is hard to see how


things do go back to normal so fast. How will it happen? Did you notice


that, Jo, did you notice all the pledges slip away now and I'm trying


to hold people to their sort of, the highest level of conduct and it


doesn't work for very long? I think change is possible. If enough people


believe in it, I believe in people power. Enough people say, I am no


longer going to blame other people for my problems, I am going to be a


positive change maker, Unite and work together. We need to come


together and say, no more hate it, we are connected with our brothers


and sisters around the world, it is time to come together, I really


believe that. We have seen outpouring from around the world,


Danny. One of the voices who entered this was Angela Merkel, who paid her


respects and then made reference to the Brexit campaign being part of


this. Do you think it was in bad taste and an over step of the line?


I don't think anybody can say it was. Not on the basis of anything we


know, nor on the basis of probability. People don't go out and


do that because of their view on the European Union. This person sounds


very much like he was mentally ill as well as having extreme, political


ideas. It doesn't add up to a contribution to the referendum


campaign. Douglas was right, we should not treat it in that way


because it will distort the rest of the debate on this very important


democratic question and seek to somebody the right to interrupt our


democracy and we don't want to do that. A lot of people have talked


about the cessation or the pause, but there will be some who read into


this pause today, a certain underlying politicisation and say


any pause may promote or benefit the Remain camp because it shuts down


the leave voice. It was very politicising from Angela Merkel and


it is a shame it happened at this moment. The referendum has about 50%


of the country on one side and 50% on the other. Neither side is evil,


we are all discussing an important democratic issue about our future.


But we cannot allow, from what ever side you are on what you are


undecided about, we cannot allow somebody who is insane or driven by


an insane hatred, to move one way or the other. It would be the worst


thing imaginable for our democracy if assassins' vetoes were allowed to


rule. Where do we think we will hear the tone of the campaign now? Will


we lose the squabble from this, or the heat from this? Any capable


politician will want to reflect the mood of the moment and any decent


human being will want to do that also. On both sides there are both


types of those people. Whatever you might think about the long-term


impact of this, the short-term impact certainly will be, people


will make every attempt to take the heat down and make civilised and


balanced argument with each other. But political issues are important,


people feel passionately about them and you cannot take politics out of


politics. And you shouldn't. And Jo Cox was passionate about things


herself and she wouldn't want that to happen either. There is a passion


which will naturally come through as we get closer to Thursday, Jo? Yes,


and I think the day after will be interesting. There are risks who


have developed across community is through social media and it is time


to heal that and build bridges. I think it will be losing situation.


There has been a lot of harm done by of the hatred and this time it will


be time to heal it, build bridges and move on to gather. Thank you all


very much. So what does happen


to the campaign now? Nick Watt joins us from Cardiff


again, Nick what do we expect There is an important moment tonight


Kos the Times has endorsed a vote to remain in the European Union. The


times is an important part of our national discourse because it's not


all plain sailing for the Remain side. It has told the leaving side


it has been economical with its claims. Also a thunderous assault on


the European Union as it is, saying if David Cameron does when this


referendum, he has got to lead a big crusade for reform within the


European Union. The two campaigns remain suspended for the moment, but


there will be a significant moment tomorrow when International Monetary


publishes its annual health check on the UK economy and I think it won't


be any great surprise to anyone if we see it warns again of the dangers


of an exit from the European Union. I think the vote Leave side will


find it difficult not to respond. But I have picked up within the


Remain campaign, whether it is appropriate, because both sides have


agreed the campaign will resume on Sunday morning. One figure I spoke


to said the campaigns shouldn't get going until Parliament has had a


chance, in that emergency recall session on Monday, to pay tribute to


Jo Cox in the House of Commons and then afterwards there is going to be


a service at Saint Margaret's Church in Westminster. The content as well


as the conduct, will it look different for the last week? There


will be a very different tone. Both camps are saying they will be very,


very careful to tone down the aggression, as the UK takes a very


good look at how it does its politics after the murder of Jo Cox.


But there will also be a political change on the Remain side. They are


very nervous after the success of votes Leave in the last couple of


weeks in pushing up the salience of immigration. I understand it when


George Osborne appears on ITV on Sunday morning, even hearing talking


about the abstract figures if we lead the EU, it will be a ?4300 hit


to the average household by 2030, he will talk about the here and there


now. He will say, imagine what a Brexit will mean. If you look at the


small print of the recent monetary policy committee monthly minutes, it


says 35% of businesses asked taking a hit, car sales are down and


sterling is down. But he will be talking on Sunday morning after the


first of three final polls from your gut. They looking at them carefully


because they gave the Scottish referendum a wobble.


Just before we go, you can guess what the papers are saying. They all


have a photograph of Jo Cox on the front. The Times has come out but


Remain and explaining why it is best for Britain, but this newspaper is


for Leave. It said the MP's killer is linked to far right terrorists


and the police are poised to charge the suspect in the killing of Jo


Cox. The Guardian has a picture of the tributes left in Parliament


Square and Jonathan Friedman writes, if you inject enough poison into our


politics, somebody will get sick. The mail is going mental health and


say the police are probing the killer's care. He appeared deeply


disturbed 24 hours before. The FT weekend says parties are united in


grief the Jo Cox as the police investigate right-wing links. And


Philip Green wants to protect pensions while encouraging his staff


to trade a steady retirement income. That is where really be this week


from all of us here, good night. We are far more united and have far


more in common than that which divides us.


After a week of wet weather to the country, things are looking quieter


for the weekend. On Saturday, largely dry day and the best of the


sunshine towards the north and the north-west. In Northern Ireland,


sunny spells, 17 or 18 degrees with light winds. Pleasant day and across


Scotland. Lots


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