Tory MP accuses police of ignoring abuse aimed at politicians

Anna Soubry is among Tory MPs who opposed Brexit. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
Anna Soubry is among Tory MPs who opposed Brexit. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
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Police are ignoring abuse and intimidation, including racism, that is being aimed at politicians and journalists outside Parliament, Tory MP Anna Soubry has claimed.

The pro-EU Tory made the allegation the day after she was branded a “Nazi” and a “liar” by a mob who targeted her during live television interviews and then followed her as she made her way back into the Commons.

It was the latest in a string of high-profile demonstrations targeting individual MPs in Westminster and prompted more than 50 MPs from across the Commons to write to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick on Monday night to express their “serious concerns” about the “deteriorating public order and security situation” outside Parliament.

Ms Soubry told Good Morning Britain on Tuesday that there was a small group of people “roaming around Westminster intimidating people going about their lawful business”.

READ MORE: Why anger of Brexiteers and ‘gilets jaunes’ is bad politics

The Broxtowe MP added that, while she anticipated a level of criticism and abuse as an MP, she expected authorities to act when it “crossed the line”.

She told GMB: “It crossed the line in December, it was journalists who were being attacked.

“(Sky News’ political editor) Faisal Islam, who is male, was racially abused by these people, it’s the same group, all on video, and the policy of the Metropolitan Police is to ignore it.”

Scotland Yard said on Monday that it has received a complaint about a public order offence and its officers were “assessing if any crimes have been committed”. No-one has been arrested.

The letter, signed by at least 55 MPs, criticised a “lack of co-ordination” in the response from the police and appropriate authorities despite assurances that incidents before Christmas would be dealt with.

The MPs said: “We write to express our serious concerns about the deteriorating public order and security situation in and around the exterior of the parliamentary estate, including College Green.

“After months of peaceful and calm protests by groups representing a range of political views on Brexit, an ugly element of individuals with strong far-right and extreme right connections - which your officers are well aware of - have increasingly engaged in intimidatory and potentially criminal acts targeting Members of Parliament, journalists, activists and members of the public.”

The attack on Ms Soubry was widely condemned on Monday, with Commons Speaker John Bercow saying he was “concerned” about a “pattern of protest” targeting female MPs and journalists.

Protesters could be heard chanting “Soubry is a Nazi” as she appeared on BBC News, prompting her to tell interviewer Simon McCoy: “I do object to being called a Nazi, actually.

“I just think this is astonishing, this is what has happened to our country. But let’s try and move on and be positive about things.”

Protesters also chanted slogans including “Liar, liar” throughout a live interview with Ms Soubry on Sky News.

Earlier on Monday, political commentator Owen Jones shared a video on Twitter which showed him being accosted by a group outside Parliament, including men wearing Union flags.

They could be heard calling him a “traitor” and a “horrible little man” and accusing the Labour activist of writing “fake news”.

The incidents prompted a wave of criticism from politicians and commentators from across the political spectrum.