Boris Johnson is fuelling a climate of fear and loathing - Christine Jardine

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There have been times this week when I have despaired for the future of British politics.

It’s a sentiment I am sure is shared widely by the public.

But I think it may be in their response that we might yet find our salvation.

The British people are currently putting up with a Prime Minister and government which has been judged by the UK’s Supreme Court to have acted unlawfully in attempting to suspend parliament.

That same parliament has passed a law calling on the Prime Minister to seek an extension to article 50 to sort out this mess.

At the time of writing this there is nothing save a vague promise to abide by the law.

And that is possibly not the worst of it.

On Thursday I sat in the House of Commons chamber surrounded by people who now find that their safety, and that of their families is being threatened.

It is happening on an almost daily basis.

One of my closest friends revealed this week that the police are involved after her children were threatened.

Another received her most recent death threat this week.

A third has recently been through the ordeal of going to court to ensure that those who threatened her were convicted and sentenced.

And they are far from the only ones who have been subjected to abuse. None of us has been immune to it over the past three years.

All of this and more was raised by politicians from all parties as we tried to bring some sanity to a situation which surely reached its nadir on Wednesday evening when the Prime Minister dismissed the heartfelt pleas of an MP who reminded him of the horror of Jo Cox’s murder during the referendum campaign as ‘humbug’.

I cannot adequately express the disdain I have for that remark.

But while there were cross party appeals for an end to a situation which many feel has been exacerbated by the deliberate, indeed 
calculated, use of intemperate 
language by the government every single one seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Their response? Vote for Brexit and it will stop.

Put aside, they tell us, your responsibility to your constituents, none of whom voted to make themselves poorer, and ignore the Government’s own documents which warn of food shortages, lack of vital medicines and the impact of Brexit on the least well off.

Stop thinking about the national interest.

Do that and we will stop using language which sets the people against parliament and depicts those who do not agree with us as traitors to be targeted.

That is not acceptable.

On top of that we hear from the Prime Minister’s sister that he feels pressure from those who have invested billions in profiting from the damage Brexit may do the pound and the economy.

That makes me wonder if it is even worth asking if he feels pressure for those who will lose their jobs or have to worry if they will get the vital medicines that they need to keep them alive.

In Westminster last week all of that created an atmosphere almost akin to disbelief amongst people who, like myself, had gone there simply to represent their communities.

To work at finding a better way. Helping people.

Amidst the debacle in which we now find ourselves that probably seems to many like an exercise in communal naivety.

But give in to what simply amounts to bullying? No.

That would go against everything we believe in and stand for. Across all the parties.

And if any of us in parliament had even the tiniest of doubts the emails, phone calls and conversations we have all had on the street or in the supermarket would have dispelled them .

On Friday morning a constituent called me just to offer her support for what we are having to put up with.

Her heartfelt sentiment moved me almost to tears.

The emails I have received also make it quite clear that the electorate, certainly in Edinburgh, do not take kindly to their representatives being singled out and bullied in this way.

And that is where I believe we will find the solution to this sickness which has infected our democracy.

MPs are each individually elected to protect the rights, liveliehoods and communities which we represent.

Whether we believe Brexit will be some miraculous cure for all the ills that have befallen our economy and society for nearly half a century.

Or we see it as a threat to our economy and national well-being which will undermine our ability to tackle the very real problems which created the disillusionment which brought us Brexit.

We can all surely agree on one thing.

The British people deserve better than this.

Too many people are playing fast and loose with their futures.

Surely now we can all see that this resurgence of nationalism and populism, and an irresponsible pitting of people against parliament is damaging the very fabric of our democracy.

It’s time to do what we were elected to do. Listen to the country. Stop this madness before its too late.