Jeremy Corbyn blasted for dragging Jo Cox into antisemitism row - 'Have some dignity!'

Jeremy Corbyn stepped up to the stage first in the BBC Question Time debate held on Friday. But the Labour Party leader quickly fell into hot water after he mentioned Jo Cox. So why did the Labour leader mention her and why has it caused such outrage?

A member of the audience questioned the Labour leader's lack of support for women in his party. 

The audience member said he is "terrified" and "doesn't buy the nice old grandpa" image.

He said: "Mr Corbyn, I heard you talk about free speech and human rights, and I have two young daughters and what terrifies me is that I look at some of the Labour MPs, female Labour MPs and the misogyny that has happened in the Labour Party.

"They have been driven out of the party.

"I look at a video on YouTube with Ruth Smeeth, particularly, because I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt in terms of maybe people are doing in your name rather than ordered by you.

"But I look at the video of Ruth Smeeth online where she was in a press conference with you and she, a Jewish MP, was heckled out of that press conference., and there you are at the end of the press conference chatting happily to that same heckler. 

"I don't buy this whole nice old grandpa. I see that video and that tells me all I need to know and I am terrified for my daughters because I see what you did in that video.

"I don't see how you can say you stand up for human rights and free speech when that is how you treat a Labour MP at a Labour press conference. I think it is disgraceful."

Jo Cox was a MP for Batley and Spen for the Labour Party from May 2015, until her death in 2016.

She was one of 36 Labour MPs who nominated Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015, but said she had done so to get him on the list and encourage a broad debate.

She died in 2016 when she was fatally shot and stabbed outside a library in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

Ms Cox had been due to hold a constituency surgery at that location, but was stabbed and shot by Thomas Mair, who held far-right views and was found guilty of her murder in November and sentenced to life imprisonment.

One person tweeted: "Don’t bring Jo Cox into this, please Jeremy, have some dignity #bbcqt".

Another person wrote: "Oh here we go, Jo Cox has become the get out mascot for that disgusting man! Corbyn is an utter disgrace #bbcqt".

One social media user added: "Corbyn just raised Jo Cox as a defence, pathetic".

Another person tweeted: "Unbelievable. A man in the audience challenges Jeremy Corbyn on Labour's anti-semitism and members heckling Jewish Labour MPs at conferences. Guess what he does in response? Starts talking about the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox. #BBCQT #BackBoris".

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