Dozens of crimes against MPs reported

Jo Cox

A police team created to handle crimes against MPs has dealt with 53 complaints since the murder of Jo Cox.

The Met’s parliamentary liaison and investigation team saw cases of hate-filled messages, harassment and criminal damage between August and early February.

It comes amid concerns that MPs are face increasing levels of online abuse.

Almost £640,000 has been spent on MPs’ security since Mrs Cox’s death on 16 June 2016.

The Labour MP for Batley and Spen was shot and stabbed by Thomas Mair in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

The specialist police squad has received 33 reports of malicious communications – which can include Twitter trolling – as well as 13 reports of theft, four allegations of criminal damage and three reports of harassment.

The figures were obtained by the Press Association using the Freedom of Information Act.

Female focus

Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, received threats from far-right supporters and had a picture of a body with a severed head mailed to her.

She said: “It is the vile views of individuals who at one point indicated that I should be next to be murdered after Jo Cox.

“It was highly unpleasant but you find your mechanisms of dealing with these things.

“It has obviously hit across gender but there has been a particular focus on women, so I do think that is a wider concern.”

Lib Dem chief whip Tom Brake said MPs had become targets on social media sites such as Twitter.

“I would suspect every single member of Parliament has received this abuse. Perhaps the issue of Brexit will have been the one which will have drawn that out in recent times.

“I received a message from someone telling me ‘you should think very carefully about how you vote for the future of your family’, which I referred to the police.

“You just know [as a man] that for every abusive email I am going to get, women are probably going to get five times as many.”

Dozens of crimes against MPs reported}