Female MPs have had to move house, hire bodyguards

Harriet Harman has claimed female MPs have had to move house and hire bodyguards after getting bullied over their stance on Brexit.

The former Labour Party deputy leader suggested that the the level of hostility and abuse has led to female MPs even shifting their positions on crucial votes. 

Police have reportedly advised one unnamed MP to not travel alone at night. 

Another has been told not to drive and a third has been advised against jogging in her local park, the Times reported.

A 55-year-old man this week admitted sending a death threat to Miss Soubry. Michael Robbins admitted making a series of telephone calls to the MP’s constituency office in Nottinghamshire, Exeter magistrates court heard

A 55-year-old man this week admitted sending a death threat to Miss Soubry. Michael Robbins admitted making a series of telephone calls to the MP’s constituency office in Nottinghamshire, Exeter magistrates court heard

A 55-year-old man this week admitted sending a death threat to Miss Soubry. Michael Robbins admitted making a series of telephone calls to the MP’s constituency office in Nottinghamshire, Exeter magistrates court heard

A 55-year-old man this week admitted sending a death threat to Miss Soubry. Michael Robbins admitted making a series of telephone calls to the MP’s constituency office in Nottinghamshire, Exeter magistrates court heard

A 55-year-old man this week admitted sending a death threat to Miss Soubry (left). Michael Robbins (pictured right) admitted making a series of telephone calls to the MP’s constituency office in Nottinghamshire, Exeter magistrates court heard

Harriet Harman, 68, former deputy leader of the Labour Party, said the level of hostility and abuse has led to female parliamentarians even shifting their positions on crucial votes

Harriet Harman, 68, former deputy leader of the Labour Party, said the level of hostility and abuse has led to female parliamentarians even shifting their positions on crucial votes

Harriet Harman, 68, former deputy leader of the Labour Party, said the level of hostility and abuse has led to female parliamentarians even shifting their positions on crucial votes

Scores of activists have hounded MPs in Westminster in recent months. Last month, a mob of protesters surrounded pro-Remain Tory MP Anna Soubry, calling her a ‘Nazi’ and a ‘traitor’.

Several female MPs have accused the police of failing to adequately deal with the culprits – adding that they feel the authorities are siding with the abusers in some cases, it was claimed.

A 55-year-old man this week admitted sending a death threat to Miss Soubry. Michael Robbins admitted making a series of telephone calls to the MP’s constituency office in Nottinghamshire, Exeter magistrates court heard.

Robins, of Exeter, Devon, was given a community order.

Another man, 59, was arrested after making death threats against Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP and former shadow home secretary, in which he allegedly threatened to kill her children and grandchildren over her opposition to a no deal Brexit.

Labour MP Paula Sherriff said she sometimes receives as much as 1000 items of abuse per week.

On three separate occasions last summer, swastikas were left on the doorstep of Ms Sherriff’s office.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) issued the suspect with a warning. They cited the man’s right to free speech as one of the reasons for not taking further action.

Ms Sheriff is now calling for a review of the case, saying: ‘MPs inevitably draw criticism for their views and I expect robust discussion. But it is wholly unacceptable for anyone, MP or otherwise, to be subject to intimidation and abuse while they go about their work.

‘Harassment, violence and abuse has no place in our society. It needs to be matched by decisive action from the police and criminal justice system.’

Last night, the CPS defended its decision not to prosecute the man. Gerry Wareham, the chief crown prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: ‘We considered this case carefully but the evidential test was not met to prove a criminal offence so we could not prosecute.

‘The suspect was issued with a harassment warning. We understand Ms Sheriff’s concerns and take any potential threat of this nature very seriously.’

She said: ‘We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. None of these MPs are snowflakes. To be elected requires you to be committed and motivated. These are the toughest of the tough.

Miss Harman, chairwoman of the joint committee on human rights which is carrying out an inquiry into the issue, has demanded major improvements in the way police handle such cases.

She said: ‘Some of them don’t want to have this in the public domain because they fear it will make the threat worse but also because it would undermine their effectiveness.

‘What is at stake here is not just people’s safety but democracy – the victim here is not just the MP but also because it would undermine their effectiveness. What is at stake here is not just people’s safety but democracy – the victim here is not just the MP but also our democracy.

‘It makes them more remote, it inhabits them from speaking out and there is clear evidence with some MPs it is affecting the way they vote. We need to nip this in the bud.’

Miss Harman said she feels ‘that the police have seen it as their job to protect the threatener rather than the threatened in the name of free speech.’

 

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