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A Tory MP has prompted an angry debate after suggesting killing people for what you believe in is acceptable. Writing about why young people should consider joining the army, Plymouth MP Johnny Mercer lamented the unpopularity of the use of violence.

He said: “The application of violence to defeat the enemies of the nation has become worryingly unpopular. Nothing wrong with fighting (yes killing) for values/what you believe in. The oppressed/bullied/tormented/voiceless deserve it. Join the fight; best thing you’ll ever do.”

The MP’s tweet followed another which said: “At some point – somewhere – someone – is going to have to stand up to Russia in the traditional sense.”

Labour condemned the comments as “deeply concerning” and called on Mr Mercer to withdraw them and apologise.

Mr Mercer, who served in the army for 12 years, has been actively addressing young peoples’ reservations about joining the armed forces.

Emma Dent Coad, Labour MP for Kensington, said: “It is deeply concerning that a Conservative member of parliament is justifying and even supporting killing for ‘what you believe in’.

“Given the rising threat of terrorism we have seen in Britain in recent years, and the fact that a member of parliament was murdered just two years ago, Johnny Mercer should withdraw and unreservedly apologise for these comments.”

Mr Mercer’s tweet has generated almost 1,000 responses – mostly from people pointing out killing people for what you believe in means very different things to different people.

Noelle Moysi said: “Is this really what you mean? You’re an MP and words matter. Jo Cox was killed by someone fighting for what they believed in. Jo Cox’s murderer saw her as an enemy of the nation and shouted the words Britain first as he did it.” Read more

Related news: Donald Trump warns May’s Brexit deal favours EU and may hinder UK trade with US. Read more