Leeds & West Yorkshire

One in four Yorkshire MPs abused, investigation finds

Jo Cox Image copyright Brendan Cox
Image caption Jo Cox was killed in her Batley and Spen constituency in June this year

One in four Yorkshire MPs have received death threats or abuse in the past three years, a BBC investigation has found.

It comes as advice on how to beef up security is being offered to all MPs in West Yorkshire following the death of the Batley and Spen Labour MP Jo Cox.

The 41-year-old was shot and stabbed in her constituency in Birstall in June.

In a survey of 58 Yorkshire MPs, 18 responded and 14 of those said they had received some sort of abuse.

That abuse was either in person, through a letter or on social media.

Of those who responded, 44% of them said they had received a death threat.

The results of the survey have been revealed in the week police are advising local MPs on their security.

Ass Ch Con Mark Milsom, from West Yorkshire Police, said: "We can give them some very simple advice in terms of how they conduct their business, where they go to, how they meet people.

"Things that can go a long way to make them feel more confident."

Personal attack alarms

The training comes a few weeks after it was revealed MPs across the country could sign up for a free course in a form of self-defence called Krav Maga, which combines jiu jitsu, judo, boxing and street fighting.

Many MPs have expressed concern over their personal safety, including Labour MP for Halifax Holly Lynch.

She said she and her staff carry personal attack alarms to alert police if they are assaulted.

"Having been an activist for the Labour Party in Halifax, I'm very used to going out and talking to people, getting on their doorsteps, having those quite frank and robust conversations at times," she said.

"But... you have opened yourself up to an awful lot of quite serious criticisms, which ventures into abuse and threats, which certainly takes some getting used to."

Thomas Mair, 52, has been charged with Jo Cox's murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon.

Levels of abuse directed at MPs

78%

received abuse in person or online

44%

received death threats

  • 89% made revisions to security

  • 28% were harassed or stalked

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