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Boris Johnson Criticized Over Comments About Jo Cox

For a prime minister known for provocative and sometimes intemperate comments and behavior, and who built his career on newspaper columns that observers said sometimes veered into racism and sexism, the eruption was not entirely out of character.

But having dressed up the sort of language he once used in a right-leaning newspaper column in all the ceremony of Parliament, Mr. Johnson still startled most onlookers.

Opening the House of Commons on Thursday morning, the speaker, John Bercow, spoke somberly about the raucous scenes the night before. “There was an atmosphere in the chamber worse than any I’ve known in my 22 years in the House,” Mr. Bercow said. “On both sides, passions were inflamed. Angry words were uttered. The culture was toxic.”

He said lawmakers would be given time specifically to discuss Mr. Johnson’s inflammatory language later on Thursday, and closed by asking lawmakers “please to lower the decibel level, and try to treat each other as opponents, not as enemies.”

Parliament was sitting only after the Supreme Court decided on Tuesday that Mr. Johnson’s move to suspend the body for five weeks had been unlawful. The prime minister was concerned that lawmakers would meddle in his plans to complete Brexit by Oct. 31, but the judges said he had gone too far.

Addressing Brexit while speaking to Parliament on Wednesday, Mr. Johnson said that Britain and the European Union were making progress on reaching a deal. But on Thursday, Michel Barnier, the bloc’s lead negotiator in the Brexit talks, repeated a familiar refrain: Britain, he said, had failed to present a meaningful proposal to break the deadlock.

Mr. Barnier said that he was “still ready to work on any new legal and operational proposal,” adding that four papers submitted from the British side in recent days had failed to meet the standard he was looking for.

“We are still waiting,” he said.

Source: NYT > World News

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