MP calls in police over online threats

A LANCASHIRE MP has been forced to call the police after online threats were made against her, it has emerged.

Friday, 17th June 2016, 4:27 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th June 2016, 9:03 am
Cat Smith, right, with Jeremy Corbyn paying tribute to murdered MP Jo Cox

Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said threats made against her and her staff have been reported to police, and initially led to her cancelling surgeries this weekend.

But, following discussions with officers, pre-arranged surgeries are now expected to be held today as originally planned.

Yesterday’s constituency meetings were cancelled in light of the killing of MP Jo Cox.

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Ms Smith, a friend of the murdered Labour MP, said the details of the alleged threat could not be discussed, as police were looking into it.

She said: “We don’t have magic wands, we can’t always fix somebody’s problems.

“Sometimes, I think rightly so, people are upset, there is a lot of injustice in the world, I try to fix what I can fix but I don’t have a magic wand.”

Ms Smith, who was in the same intake into Parliament as colleague Jo, said: “Occasionally, people say ‘It’s part of the job’.

“It’s not part of the job. As far as I’m concerned I did not sign up to be abused or threatened, I signed up to be a public servant.”
She said abuse took different forms, and said: “In general, there are posts on social media, there are emails which you get that are vile, and people feel free to say all kinds of horrible stuff to your face.

“Although, generally, most of it is online.”

Surgeries are usually run from the library in Lancaster and Fleetwood, but had been switched, temporarily, to telephone appointments.

Speaking about her colleague, who represented Batley and Spen, she said: “The sharpness of the grief and shock will dull with time but I shall forever know that the world has been robbed of one the best.

“All who knew Jo feel devastated and we need to ensure that some good can come out of this tragedy, for the sake of her little children if nothing else. Jo was a little woman, just five foot, with a huge heart and the love that she gave the world will defeat the hate that took her from us.”

The Union Flag is flying at half mast at Preston Town Hall.

A 52-year-old man has been charged with murder in relation to Jo Cox’s death.