Lancashire

MP cancels Brexit public meeting over 'far-right threat'

Cat Smith Image copyright Gus Campbell Photography/Labour Party
Image caption Labour MP Cat Smith said she was "deeply disappointed" she needed to cancel the meeting

An MP has cancelled a public meeting to discuss Brexit due to security concerns over "far-right extremists".

Cat Smith, Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said she was "deeply disappointed" about having to cancel the event in Fleetwood.

Posting on Facebook, she said: "I've been warned far-right extremists were planning action around this meeting."

Lancashire Police said the decision to cancel was "a matter for the MP and her office".

'Safety priority'

Ms Smith thanked everyone who had registered to attend the meeting, due to take place on Friday, and apologised for inconvenience caused by the cancellation.

She added: "I was really looking forward to seeing many of you there but unfortunately I've been advised to cancel the event due to concerns over security."

"I'm deeply disappointed that I have to take this decision but the safety of my constituents, my team and my family has to take priority," the MP said.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The MP made the announcement on Facebook

A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: "Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith had arranged a number of public meetings and had asked for a policing presence because of a perceived threat.

"A proportionate, low-key plan was put in place. Any decision to cancel is a matter for the MP and her office."

In 2017 Ms Smith reported abusive messages from online trolls to police.

She tweeted that one of the messages said she "should be raped by 100 Muslims" and said another troll posted, "hope she gets raped then".

Decisions about whether meetings in Knott End and Lancaster will go ahead will be made following further discussions with the police, she said.

In the June 2016 referendum 51.1% of people in the district of Lancaster voted to leave the European Union.

Ms Smith had campaigned to remain in the EU before the referendum but said she had since backed Labour's manifesto pledge to respect the result.

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