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James O'Brien Says Toxic 'Political Culture' Of Migrant-Bashing Could Have Prompted Jo Cox Murder

LBC presenter labelled both 'thoughtful' and 'disgusting' for latest views.

17/06/2016 15:37 | Updated 17 June 2016

James O'Brien has launched an extraordinary monologue in which he said the murder of Jo Cox could have been caused by a political culture of fear over immigration.

The LBC presenter claimed the man who stabbed and shot Cox had been "pushed to the brink of murder by political debate".

In a three-minute speech live on air O'Brien said some politicians had themselves created the environment for "terrorism" that eventually saw one of Westminster's own killed.

He went on to suggest that the threat of a terrorist attack - such as the one on Cox - had been fuelled by people being told they were "under siege" by immigrants. 

The controversial monologue came after a testy debate over journalists 'politicising' Cox's death, with O'Brien's take dividing many listeners; he was dubbed "thoughtful" by some fans and "disgusting" by his detractors.

Yui Mok/PA Wire
Jo Cox was shot and stabbed outside the town library in her constituency

The pundit asked on Friday: "Can you conceive of circumstances in which somebody living in Britain today could be pushed to a point where they contemplate that sort of conduct? I’m afraid to tell you I can."

"If I was to be reading my newspaper every single morning and being told my very existence was under siege, by people I’ve never met and never seen but keep getting told are coming here in their hordes.

"If I was to open my newspaper or turn on my radio or television set, and told that every body who is coming here is a rapist ... I would begin to believe it I think… if I didn’t have the knowledge or the insights and the education to know that it is not true."

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O'Brien said people had begun to believe they were under siege from immigrants

O'Brien continued but refused to name the specific politicians he blamed for inciting the "political culture" that he claimed motivated Cox's murder.

He lamented: "Convince me if you can, that political debate in Britain in the last couple of years has not created an environment in which we find it easy to believe… or possible to believe, that this sort of violence, that this sort of terrorism, could unfold on our streets."

O'Brien then challenged those who had accused him of 'politicising' Cox's death, branding the murder an act of terror. 

"I would come with you on that journey if you'd tried to go down the same road when Lee Rigby was murdered by a paranoid schizophrenic. When does it become terrorism?"

The rant divided opinion, with some listeners saying it "perfectly captured the state of debate in Britain today". 

While critics accused O'Brien of "pushing an agenda" and said his linking of immigrant-bashing to Cox was "very disrespectful.

It comes after Owen Jones today defended those speculating about whether the attack on Cox was politically motivated. 

"It is not politicising a disgusting murder to understand whether, in part, it was politically motivated," he wrote in a post on Twitter. "It is just the truth."

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