LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May has distanced herself from the Daily Mail front page which responded to her call for a snap general election with the headline: “Crush the saboteurs.”
Splashed below a huge picture of a smiling prime minister, the headline implied that her intention had been to “crush” those politicians and peers perceived to be blocking Brexit, as well as the 48% of the population who voted to remain in the European Union.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, May said she “absolutely” did not agree with the headline.
She said: “Politics and democracy are about, of course, people having different opinions, different views.”
“It’s important in Parliament that people are able to challenge what the government is doing, that there is proper debate and scrutiny now hat the government is doing — and that’s what there will be.”
Opposition MPs rallied against the headline, describing it as “chilling” and “twisted.”
Prominent Labour MP Stella Creasy tweeted:
SNP MP John Nicolson said that the headline targeted those opposed to a “hard” Brexit:
Labour MP Liam Byrne, a former shadow minister, said the headline was “bitter and twisted”:
Anna Turley, Labour MP for Redcar, criticised The Sun as well as the Mail for the “aggression” and “violence” of its front page, which described the prospect of an election as “Blue Murder” in reference to the predicted landslide for the Conservative party.
Here is the Sun’s front page:
In November last year, the Mail prompted outrage with a front page which branded judges “enemies of the people” after they ruled that the prime minister must seek parliamentary approval to invoke Article 50.
In March this year, 1,600 people complained to the UK press regulator about a Mail front page splash which asked: “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!” alongside a photo of Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. MPs described it as “sexist” and “appalling.”
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This is not democratic tradition dissent and debate of which we are proud -Britain deserves a better future than this chilling tone offers.. https://t.co/haSvhNCLHx
— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) April 18, 2017
By ‘saboteurs’ they mean people who disagree with a hard Brexit. The thought of this PM with a crushing majority is gruesome. #VoteSNP https://t.co/Iht8AKqc9D
— JOHN NICOLSON M.P. (@MrJohnNicolson) April 19, 2017
Am really hoping this election can be held without the levels of aggression or violence we have seen in the recent referendums… #democracy pic.twitter.com/wHSoJBCnNV
— Anna Turley MP (@annaturley) April 18, 2017
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