Mansfield MP defends 'extraordinarily dangerous' use of 'surrender' in Brexit bill rhetoric

Ben Bradley MP.
Ben Bradley MP.

Mansfield's MP Ben Bradley has defended the use of the word "surrender" in Brexit rhetoric amid concerns from the Church of England that it is "denigrating debate".

The word has been branded by the government, as well as Mr Bradley, to describe the 'Benn Act', which forced the government into requesting a Brexit extension after agreement could not be met in parliament.

An example of Ben Bradley using the word 'surrender', which has been condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

An example of Ben Bradley using the word 'surrender', which has been condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

But the Archbishop of Canterbury and other leading bishops have hit out at MPs, suggesting the level of language put forward by the government, as well as members in other parties, has been "unacceptable".

A letter issued by 118 archbishops and bishops called on politicians to "speak to others with respect", and drew on the murder of Jo Cox in 2016 to warn of the dangers of further death threats.

And the Archbishop, Rev Justin Welby, told the Sunday Times: “I think we have become addicted to an abusive and binary approach to political decisions: ‘It’s either this or you’re my total enemy’.

“There have been inflammatory words used on all sides, in parliament and outside - ‘traitor’, ‘fascist’, 'surrender', all kinds of really bad things have been said at the highest level in politics.

An example of Ben Bradley using the word 'surrender', which has been condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

An example of Ben Bradley using the word 'surrender', which has been condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"There needs to be a cooling of tempers on all sides in order to enable people to try to come to an agreement to see what solution can unite the country and do what has to be done.

"Death threats are really serious and they need to be taken seriously.

"In a time of deep uncertainty, a much smaller amount of petrol is a much more dangerous thing than it was in a time when people were secure.

"There is a great danger to doing it when we’re already in a very polarised and volatile situation."

An example of Ben Bradley using the word 'surrender', which has been condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

An example of Ben Bradley using the word 'surrender', which has been condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Mr Bradley has defended the use of "surrender" in his and the government's rhetoric, but did agree with the Archbishop about the dangers of words such as "traitor".

He said: "Surrender is just a word in the English language, and in this sense it is the perfect way to describe the Bill - it gives power over to Brussels in deciding what happens next.

"The decision by politicians that it has a meaning about war is wrong in my opinion. It literally means to surrender power and concede defeat. And the 'Surrender Act' describes what the Benn Act does.

"I think there is a big difference between 'surrender' and using the word 'traitor', which is an actual criminal offence and suggests criminal intent.

An example of Ben Bradley using the word 'surrender', which has been condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

An example of Ben Bradley using the word 'surrender', which has been condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"I'm all for people taking care of our language, and it is right and sensible for the Archbishop to come out and condemn words like 'traitor' and say people should be wary, because that is his role in society.

"But I do not agree that 'surrender' should not be used."