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Laura Kuenssberg: BBC political editor 'given bodyguards' at Labour party conference after online abuse

The BBC journalist has been repeatedly targeted by online trolls over her reporting

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Monday 25 September 2017 09:17 BST
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BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg has been criticised for her online behaviour.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg has been criticised for her online behaviour. (Getty)

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg has been assigned a security detail at the Labour party conference following online abuse, reports suggests.

Ms Kuenssberg, who is the first woman to lead the BBC's political coverage, will be accompanied by bodyguards while reporting on Labour events during the four-day conference in Brighton, which started on Sunday.

The corporation also decided to bolster Ms Kuenssberg's protection during the general election in June after she faced threats over alleged bias in her reporting about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. She was also accused of partiality by supporters of the Conservatives and Ukip.

The journalist attracted ire from some Labour supporters for her coverage of last year's leadership election and the party's poor performance in local elections, while a petition for her to be sacked garnered 35,000 signatures before being taken down.

The BBC also found that one of her reports misrepresented Mr Corbyn's views on the policy of shoot-to-kill and broke the corporation’s rules on impartiality and accuracy.

Deputy party leader Tom Watson previously stepped in to condemn Labour supporters who hissed at Ms Kuenssberg after a speech Mr Corbyn gave in the EU referendum campaign.

Senior Labour MP Yvetter Cooper, who has faced sustained online trolling, also defended her, describing the misogyny and anger directed at the BBC journalist as "straight out of the Trump playbook.

The BBC said it does not comment on security issues but a corporation insider told the Sun on Sunday: “We take the safety of our staff extremely seriously.

“Laura is a well-known public figure. She and her team will be covering events with big crowds where there can be hostility, so we want to ensure adequate precautions are taken.”

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