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Anna Soubry: Independent Group MP ‘can't go home’ because of death threats over Brexit

‘I’m not able to go home this weekend, I am not safe’, former Tory warns 

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Thursday 21 March 2019 20:02 GMT
Anna Soubry says 'it's not safe for me to go home'

Anna Soubry says she “can’t go home this weekend” because of Brexit death threats, revealing police are “frightened” for her safety.

The Independent Group MP attacked the “language” used by some politicians and media, warning it led to abusive messages such as “traitors get beheaded”.

The former Conservative spoke out after Theresa May was forced to deny putting MPs in danger with her incendiary claim that they are to blame for the Brexit crisis.

Asked about the prime minister’s controversial TV statement, Ms Soubry said she was facing “very, very serious death threats, especially when people know your home address”.

“I can’t go home this weekend, I’m not able to go home this weekend, I am not safe,” she told journalists, after talks at the cabinet office.

“When a senior police officer tells your partner that, if it was his wife in the situation that I am in, he would say ‘I am frightened for her safety’ I think that tells you everything.”

The MP for Broxtowe, in Nottinghamshire, added: “This is the reality of it, that’s why the language that politicians and indeed everybody uses, including the media, is so important.

“We are tired of being called traitors. When people use that language the next thing that happens is that I get an email that says ‘Traitors get beheaded, that’s what should happen to you’.”

Ms Soubry attended talks with David Lidington, the prime minister’s defacto deputy, with Chuka Umunna, who defected to the Independent Group from Labour.

Earlier, the prime minister’s spokeswoman was forced to defend her TV statement, after warnings that the safety of MPs was now in greater danger.

There were protests in the Commons, including from Labour MP Paula Sherriff who said she had previously “begged” Ms May to “dial down” her rhetoric.

“Last week, I received a message saying my head should be chopped off, along with lots and lots of other messages,” she told fellow MPs.

Diana Johnson, another Labour MP, said: “In recent weeks like many MPs in this house, I have been accused of being a traitor. I’ve also had Facebook posts, along with two other MPs in Hull, saying we should be shot and hanged.”

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, put himself firmly on the side of MPs, saying: “None of you is a traitor, all of you are doing your best.”

The backlash came after Ms May delivered a “message to the public” on Wednesday night, telling viewers: “You are tired of the infighting, you’re tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows, tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit.”

But the prime minister’s spokeswoman said, of claims she was worsening the situation: “I flatly reject that ... there’s no evidence to suggest that.”

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