Lawmakers have revealed their growing frustration with police inaction over the death threats they received, as they prepare to pay tribute to Sir David Ames in the wake of the murder of a Conservative backbencher.
Former Labor MP Paula Sheriff said West Yorkshire police officers “laughed” at him after he threatened to kill him, while other politicians complained about the “patchy” police response to the threats.
It comes as Labor backbencher Kris Bryant revealed a man has been arrested for threatening his life after returning home over the weekend.
And Justice Secretary Dominic Raab is said to have received at least three threats to “life and limb” over the past two years – with an acid attack being the latest.
Lawmakers have complained about a “hidden” response to their security fears, as the killing of Sir David during his surgery in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday has raised new concerns over the safety of politicians.
Ms Sheriff, a former Deusbury MP who lost her seat in 2019, said it took “several weeks” for police to examine the CCTVs handed over to her after the swastika was stained at the door of her office.
“They had written to tell me that the man who was doing this was having trouble sleeping,” she told Sky News.
The Labor politician said: “When we received death threats on my telephone in my office – it was someone who left a message on the answer phone – the police came to my office and they laughed.”
Conservative MP Andrew Rosindale said police often “do nothing” when he reports abusive messages. MP Romford told Times Radio that there were “four or five incidents” where he had to report incidents to the police.
“Often they … do literally nothing, or the onus is on me to make endless statements that lead nowhere. I’ve sat down and made endless statements in the past and nothing comes back to you ,” Rosindale said.
He said: “I was attacked in the 2017 election. I’ve had threatening emails and abusive emails sent to constituents about me. Almost nothing happens with these things. Do I blame the police? … they have jobs, they have fewer resources, I guess.”
Labor MP Diane Abbott told Granthshala That the regular abuse she received online included death threats, as she called on social media platforms to do more to tackle the problem.
“When I have been the victim of online racial and threatening attacks and have reported it to the police, often they have been unable to investigate because of the current rules on anonymity,” she said.
Labor’s shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said she felt safe working in her constituency and that the police response to lawmakers’ security concerns across the country was “very low”.
Jed Botterill, Yvette Cooper’s former parliamentary adviser, said the lawmaker had received about 50 death threats each week, adding that they had “normalized” into the duties expected of lawmakers’ staff.
She told Sky News: “I think 20-30 hours a week was spent reporting death threats, giving statements to the police, and making impactful statements in court hearings. It really changed my role.”
Byrant revealed that he received death threats on Saturday after coming back from Qatar. “The first message in my inbox was this death threat, very clear, so I informed the police and they have taken action.”
The Labor MP said he had considered leaving politics, but said he cared much more about tackling inequality and climate change and fighting for his constituents. “I’m passionate about changing the world … and no one is going to stop me,” he said.
Raab revealed that he has recently been the victim of three threats that required “intervention”, but said coworkers – especially women – have received “worse abuse”.
“In the last two years I have received three threats to life and limb,” the deputy prime minister told the BBC. Breakfast. Raab also said that the most recent threat was “threats to throw acid at me”.
Raab said an increase in private security is the most “likely” option to boost security, rather than keep more police officers out of lawmakers’ surgery.
The Justice Secretary raised concerns that having police officers could have a “pacifying effect” as constituents seek to engage with their elected representatives.
Boris Johnson will pay tribute to Sir David in the Commons on Monday, before MPs and peers attended a service in his honor at St Margaret’s Church.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /