'People really should know better': MP gets sent faeces over water pollution debate as Tory attacks 'taunts and jibes'

28 February 2023, 19:29

Campaigners have hit out over waterway pollution
Campaigners have hit out over waterway pollution. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

An MP was sent faeces through their letterbox over the Government's response to sewage discharges in Britain's waterways.

One Conservative hit out at the Lib Dems for accusing his party of failing to act sufficiently over water pollution limits.

Speaking during a debate in Westminster Hall about South West Water's performance, Simon Jupp said: "The Liberal Democrats have been accusing Conservative MPs of voting to pollute our waters and seas. This is quite frankly ridiculous. Why would any of us vote to put sewage in the sea?"

Fellow Tory MP Anthony Mangnall said: "It's not just ridiculous, it is incorrect, because the legislation we have passed is the first piece of legislation ever to address this issue in the way that we are and ensuring that we are leading to meaningful action.

"So let's be very, very clear about this, it is incorrect to suggest any member of Parliament voted to allow sewage to flow into our river ways or on to our coastline."

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Protesters have been furious at river pollution
Protesters have been furious at river pollution. Picture: Alamy

Mr Jupp went on: "This is the first Government in history to crack down on sewage discharges. Now political argument and debate have been pushed aside for taunts and jibes by people who really should know better.

"These claims have been misinterpreted and twisted in an often vicious way with, I'm afraid to say, dark consequences.

"Those present will know this has led to colleagues facing threats and abuse in the street, and on social media.

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"I was really upset to hear that one honourable member recently received faeces through their letterbox as a result of this politics. This is unacceptable. And any member here today who repeats these claims should be ashamed of themselves."

Liberal Democrat criticism came after the Government set a target in law to reduce the amount of phosphorus that discharges into rivers from treated wastewater by 80% by 2038, compared to 2020 levels.

While the Lib Dems' criticism that the Tories have allowed sewage dumping to go on for at least 15 more years is technically correct, that vote was not an explicit permit to do so.

The Government has said it is trying to get to grips with waterway pollution
The Government has said it is trying to get to grips with waterway pollution. Picture: Alamy

Tim Farron, the party's former leader who is now their environment spokesman, said: "This kind of behaviour is completely abhorrent and no MP or staff should have to put up with it. I feel for Simon and his staff as I too have been on the receiving end of abusive behaviour.

"However, it is not right to blame people who are holding the Government to account for their actions.

"Millions of people across the country have voiced their dismay at sewage being dumped into rivers and coastlines, and the Liberal Democrats have been championing their cause.”

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