CALLS are growing for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to block former Brexit party Euro MP Claire Fox’s appointment to the House of Lords following her refusal to condemn the IRA bomb attack on Warrington.
Labour’s Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols has written a letter to Mr Johnson, saying:
“As the Member of Parliament for Warrington North, I note with alarm Claire Fox’s name among the new peers named by the Government on Friday.
As you will be no doubt be aware, in 1993 Warrington was bombed by the IRA in a heinous attack which killed three-year-old Johnathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry, injured 54 others and changed countless lives forever. The Revolutionary Communist Party, of which Ms Fox was a leading member, said in the days following the attack that they defended “the right
of the Irish people to take whatever measures necessary in their struggle for freedom”. In interviews as recent as last year, including with Hannah Miller from ITV, she has repeatedly been given the opportunity to apologise or distance herself from these remarks and has refused.
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.
Mr Colin Parry, father of Tim Parry, has stated that the offer of a Peerage for Ms Fox “offends me and many others deeply” and the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation, set up in their memory, stated that they are “watching this appointment with sadness”.
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.
Further, I urge you to make good on your promise, as yet unfulfilled, to continue funding the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation to continue to honour their legacy. Their government funding stopped in March, and their globally renowned work supporting victims and survivors of terrorism continues only as a result of the support of a private philanthropic individual.
This is not sustainable, and it would be a grave insult to Warrington if after almost three decades of work they were forced to close down because of a lack of support from this government.
I look forward to your response to the matters raised in this letter.”
Ms Fox’s nomination by the Brexit Party for a peerage has created a storm of controversy in Warrington due to her links with the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Following the IRA bomb attack in 1993 which claimed the lives of 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball, the Revolutionary Communist Party’s official newsletter defended ‘the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures necessary in their struggle for freedom’.
She was also a member of the Irish Freedom Movement, which backed dissident republicanism.
Meanwhile Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Deputy Leader and Party Chair, commenting on Ms Nichols’ call for the Prime Minister to block Claire Fox’s peerage, added:
“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.
“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.”
Tim’s father Colin Parry tweeted: “We all do and say things when young that we later regret. Claire Fox never apologised for defending the IRA bombing of Warrington which took the life of my son Tim and Johnathan Ball. Now she is offered a Peerage. This offends me and many others deeply.”
In a statement after her peerage was announced Ms Fox 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 (now 27) 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.”
Warrington South MP Andy Carer said: “As Ms Fox is nominated as a non-affiliated peer I have written to the Independent Appointment Commission who are responsible for her selection to ask them to review the recommendation and I’m waiting to hear back from them at the moment.”
This is what happened when we asked Brexit Party candidate Claire Fox about her support for the 1993 Warrington bombings:
– ‘I don’t hold those views anymore because there is no war going on in Ireland anymore’
— Hannah Miller (@hannahITV) May 19, 2019