Nandy says 'many, many MPs' have been harassed in the streets as she weighs in on Gaza vote Speaker chaos

25 February 2024, 21:33

The Labour MP told Sky News&squot;s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips that MPs were receiving threats "on multiple issues in multiple directions".
The Labour MP told Sky News's Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips that MPs were receiving threats "on multiple issues in multiple directions". Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Labour front-bencher Lisa Nandy has detailed that 'many, may MPs' have been threatened and harassed in the street as she weighed in on last week's Speaker chaos during the Gaza vote.

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Shadow international development secretary Ms Nandy said "many MPs" will have been in touch with the Speaker to express "concerns about their safety" in recent weeks.

The Labour MP told Sky News's Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips that MPs were receiving threats "on multiple issues in multiple directions".

Read More: Full list of MPs who have demanded Speaker Lindsay Hoyle quit after Commons chaos. Where does your MP stand?

Read More: Keir Starmer denies threatening Commons speaker over Gaza ceasefire vote as embattled Hoyle vows to carry on

Ms Nandy said: "I think there'll be many, many MPs who will have been in contact with the Speaker over the course of the last few months, and particularly in the last couple of weeks, as tensions were heightened - expressing concerns about their safety."

The Wigan MP added: "We've had incidents over the last few months where people, including me, have been accosted on the streets and surrounded and filmed.

"Over the 14 years that I've been in Parliament, I've watched this get worse and worse."

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle
Ms Nandy said she was "absolutely certain" no-one in Labour threatened to withdraw support from Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle over Wednesday's motion on a ceasefire in Gaza. Picture: Alamy

Ms Nandy said she was "absolutely certain" no-one in Labour threatened to withdraw support from Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle over Wednesday's motion on a ceasefire in Gaza.

"None of the senior figures in Labour would ever dream of threatening the Speaker," Ms Nandy said.

Sir Lindsay, who has faced calls to resign after going against convention during the SNP's Opposition Day debate on a ceasefire, said his motivation for widening Wednesday's discussion was fuelled by concern about MPs' security after intimidation suffered by some parliamentarians.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Sir Lindsay has written to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to seek more funding for the scheme to protect politicians by installing security measures at MPs' homes and constituency offices.

The newspaper added that a rising number of politicians have been assessed to be at risk and are being provided with close protection by private security personnel.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reported that three female politicians, including representatives of the Conservative and Labour parties, have been given taxpayer-funded bodyguards and cars.

Leigh on Sea, UK. 15th Sept, 2019. Sir David Amess at Old Leigh Regatta. Penelope Barritt/Alamy Live News
The claims come nearly three years after Sir David Amess was killed in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Picture: Alamy

The newspaper reported that the three MPs, who have not been named, had their security upgraded after a risk assessment was carried out with support from the Ravec committee, which is responsible for the security of the royal family and senior politicians.

It comes as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign defended the right to lobby MPs "in large numbers", amid reports the group wanted so many protesters to turn up that Parliament would "have to lock the doors".

The group said the issue of MPs' security was "serious" but should not be used to "shield MPs from democratic accountability".

Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Ben Jamal said thousands of people were "shamefully" denied entry into Parliament on Wednesday as they attempted to lobby MPs to vote in favour of a ceasefire in Gaza.

He added that the group was not involved in the projection of a "from the river to the sea" message on the building, but was "pleased to see it".

Mr Jamal said the group "does not call" for protests outside MPs' homes and believed parliamentarians have a right "to have their privacy respected".

Tributes Paid To Murdered Labour MP Jo Cox
Two MPs have been killed in Britain in the last eight years. Picture: Getty

The Times had reported that Mr Jamal told a crowd of demonstrators in the build-up to the protest on Wednesday: "We want so many of you to come that they will have to lock the doors of Parliament itself."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said MPs had been "verbally threatened and physically, violently targeted" in recent weeks as protests were "hijacked by extremists to promote and glorify terrorism".

In a statement, Mr Sunak said: "The events of recent weeks are but the latest in an emerging pattern which should not be tolerated.

"Legitimate protests hijacked by extremists to promote and glorify terrorism, elected representatives verbally threatened and physically, violently targeted, and antisemitic tropes beamed onto our own Parliament building.

"And in Parliament this week a very dangerous signal was sent that this sort of intimidation works. It is toxic for our society and our politics and is an affront to the liberties and values we hold dear here in Britain.

"Our democracy cannot and must not bend to the threat of violence and intimidation or fall into polarised camps who hate each other."

The Government's political violence tsar has said police should have the powers to "disperse" protests around Parliament, MPs' offices and council chambers that they deem to be threatening.

Baron Walney, the Government's adviser on political violence and disruption, said on Friday that the "aggressive intimidation of MPs" by "mobs" was being mistaken for an "expression of democracy".

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