Angela Rayner tells PM to block peerage of Claire Fox

Labour’s Angela Rayner has backed calls for the Prime Minister to block the peerage of Claire Fox and described the nomination as an “insult to the people of the North West”.

Commenting on a letter sent to Boris Johnson by Labour MP Charlotte Nichols on Tuesday, the deputy Labour leader said the nomination of the former Brexit MEP had “rightly caused revulsion and real hurt”.

Nichols has urged the Prime Minister to “ensure that Ms Fox is not created a peer”, and wrote that doing so would “show crass insensitivity to victims of terrorism, and to the communities still scarred by the attack 27 years on”.

Responding to the call from her colleague, Rayner said: “Boris Johnson’s failure to block the elevation of Claire Fox to the House of Lords is an insult to the people of the North West.

“The awarding of a life peerage to someone who has repeatedly refused to apologise for her support of the heinous IRA bombing attack in Warrington in 1993 has rightly caused revulsion and real hurt both in Warrington and across our region.

“The Prime Minister is showing crass insensitivity to the families of those who lost their lives in 1993 and countless others whose lives were changed forever that day, and as a result of the IRA attack in Manchester city centre in 1996.

“If the Prime Minister refuses to block this nomination he is showing that he doesn’t care about the victims and survivors of terrorism in our communities.”

Fox has been widely criticised for failing to condemn the IRA bombing of the town in the North West of England, which took place 27 years ago causing the death of two children and injuring more than 50 other people.

In her letter to Johnson, Nichols wrote: “The nomination of Ms Fox has not only caused considerable hurt to those directly affected by the bombing of Warrington but also revulsion in my constituency and in our town more widely as a result of this.

“I urge you to please ensure that Ms Fox is not created a peer, by using your power as Prime Minister to block her nomination.

“To allow Ms Fox to become a life peer would be to show crass insensitivity to victims of terrorism, and to the communities still scarred by the attack 27 years on. Warrington will never forget that day, nor the victims whose lives were cruelly cut short.”

At the time of the bombings in 1993, Fox was a prominent figure in the Revolutionary Communist Party, which defended “the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures are necessary in their struggle for freedom”.

In a statement released by former Brexit MEP Fox after the nomination was made, she said: “Contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, I do not support or defend the IRA’s killing of two young boys in Warrington in 1993.

“I have not mentioned the horrific times of over 23 years ago since then and do not believe there is any justification for violence in Ireland today.

“The killing of Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry was a terrible tragedy. The 1994 IRA ceasefire and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement drew a line under the conflict. It’s surely time to move on.”

The Warrington bombings were two attacks that took place in February and March 1993. The first attack targeted a gas storage facility, causing no injuries. But the second saw two bombs explode in litter bins resulting in injuries and loss of life.

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