MP speaks out about death threats and abuse from public

Maria Caulfield MP says she has received death threats and other abuse during her time in office
Maria Caulfield MP says she has received death threats and other abuse during her time in office

MP Maria Caulfield has spoken out this week about her experience of receiving death threats and other abuse from the public.

The Conservative MP said she had received violent threats, had her tyres slashed and had headless photographs of herself sent to her office.

“As a politician I am perfectly happy for people to challenge my views,” said Ms Caulfield. “When it descends into threats of violence it is just wrong.”

Ms Caulfield said many people claim such abuse is part of the job, but she felt the intimidation and threats to herself and her team were unacceptable.

“I have had to increase security at my office and take other precautions,” she said.

“I no longer feel I can post personal or family photos on Facebook or Twitter, which I used to do freely long before my first election, for fear of my loved ones becoming targets.”

Ms Caulfield recently responded to a BBC South East questionnaire which found seven of the 14 MPs surveyed had received death threats while in office.

According to the BBC’s findings, threats and abuse have generally risen around times of political controversy such as the general election, the vote on Syria and the EU referencdum.

Five MPs admitted they received abusive messages on a weekly basis and two said they had considered quitting as a result, according to the BBC.

Ms Caulfield told the BBC it was the death of Labour MP Jo Cox which made her take threats more seriously.

A man was jailed for life after killing Ms Cox a week before the EU referendum vote last June.

“The intimidation and threats are just wrong,” said Ms Caulfield.