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Death threats seem a norm, MP says

BBC News, 25th February 2024

Preet Gill, Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, said her job worried her "in a way I've never been worried before".

She shared her experience on the BBC Politics Midlands programme during a discussion on MPs' safety.

It came in the wake of the Commons Speaker stating MPs' safety was behind his contentious decision to alter procedure amid a vote on Gaza.

Ms Gill, speaking generally about her role, stated: "I've had direct death threats - it seems like it's become a norm.

"I think when you're a woman especially in Parliament, the level of misogyny and hatred and that people can actually sit down and write a direct threat to you without feeling there are going to be [any] consequences, has really become part of the work that we do."

When asked on the programme whether she was getting more abuse and threats in relation to the Gaza conflict than other matters, Ms Gill replied: "I think so."

She said she had been accused of things "without any evidence" and had also been shouted at in the street.

"It's not the sort of behaviour we should have to tolerate."

Ms Gill said: "I think [the situation] is still not being taken seriously even though we've seen reports of intimidation and vandalism in terms of people's offices.

"[But] I think that the current threat is really serious. People have been putting messages in WhatsApp saying they want to come out and protest outside my home."

She said she had security at her surgery, adding of her role "I'm really worried in a way I've never been worried before".

She was also "constantly referring things into the police".

"We've got to be able to have debate on serious issues in a responsible way," she said.

Both women said despite the challenges, they did not wish to stand back from frontline politics.

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