Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Two arrested in Sheffield over malicious tweet to MPs

Crossbow Image copyright Twitter
Image caption One tweet showed a crossbow above the words "We are ready for civil war, are you?"

Two people have been arrested in connection with a series of malicious tweets sent to five MPs, including a reference to the murder of Jo Cox.

Messages were sent to Independent Group MPs Anna Soubry, Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith and Sarah Wollaston, and Labour MP David Lammy.

One showed a crossbow above the words "We are ready for civil war, are you?"

South Yorkshire Police said a man and a woman had been arrested on suspicion of sending malicious communications.

The man, 40, and woman, 33, have been released on bail.

The tweets were sent from an account in the name of "Sheffield and Yorkshire direct action brexit group".

Responding to a tweet from Ms Soubry referencing a petition calling for Brexit to be cancelled, one message branded her a "traitor" and said "Remember what happened to Jo Cox".

Image copyright Twitter

Mrs Cox was killed, aged 41, by right-wing extremist Thomas Mair, in Birstall, West Yorkshire, part of her Batley and Spen constituency, in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum.

The arrests came as Mrs Cox's sister, Kim Leadbeater, said the level of abuse aimed at politicians was now worse than when the MP was killed.

Speaking outside the Scottish Parliament she said: "There's absolutely nothing wrong with robust debate and being passionate about the subject, but when that descends into personal attacks, abuse and violent language, I think that's not helpful, that's not going to move things forward.

"Whether you are a politician or a journalist or a normal member of the public like me, we all have a responsibility to conduct ourselves in a more civilised manner.

"I think things are undoubtedly worse."

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