Disclosure of private information about Nicola Bulley 'shocking', says Penny Mordaunt
Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt has described the disclosure of private information about missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley by Lancashire Police who are investigating her disappearance as “shocking”.
The 45-year-old mortgage adviser went missing more than three weeks ago, on January 27.
Ms Bulley was walking her dog Willow by the River Wyre after dropping her children off at school when she went missing.
Lancashire Constabulary has come under fire for making Ms Bulley’s struggles with alcohol and the peri-menopause public.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has contacted police leaders about the investigation as the Prime Minister said he too was “concerned” by the revelation.
Penny Mordaunt describes the ordeal as ‘horrific’ for Nicola Bulley’s family
Appearing on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme, Ms Mordaunt described the ordeal as “horrific” for the family of the missing mother, saying: “It’s quite shocking. And I think that both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary are right to raise concerns about this.”
She added: “And I think it really does grate with a lot of women and we have to put up with all kinds of sexist behaviour in all kinds of settings. And I think to have it play out in this kind of environment is why people are so upset.”
Asked whether police displayed sexism in their dealing with the case, Ms Mordaunt said: “I think that they clearly were motivated to try and explain why this case is a complex one. But I think there are serious questions to be asked about why they wanted to reveal particular information.”
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has also raised concerns about the case, saying there is a wider problem with how the police deal with misogyny.
Ms Cooper also contacted the force about the level of detail it released about Nicola Bulley’s personal life.
She said she had received “further information” from the force but didn’t expand on the information she had been given.
Ms Cooper said the focus should remain on the search for Ms Bulley and the review launched by the Information Commissioner, who is now looking into how the disclosure was handled.
But she said: “I think we should almost sort of put this case aside… There is a wider issue about the way in which the police has dealt with particularly violence against women and girls, and of course with standards around misogyny and around approaches towards violence and abuse within police forces themselves.
“We’ve obviously had the terrible cases of Wayne Couzens and David Carrick, neither of whom should have been police officers, and where really standards have not been high enough.”
On Wednesday, Lancashire Police revealed in a press conference that Nicola Bulley was immediately deemed as a “high risk” missing person when her partner, Paul Ansell, reported her missing, “based on a number of specific vulnerabilities”.
A statement from the force later added that the mother-of-two had been struggling with alcohol issues and peri-menopause, and had stopped taking her HRT medication.
A date has been set for an internal review into the investigation, Lancashire Police has confirmed.
A police spokeswoman said: “A review of the investigation is diarised and will be conducted by our head of crime detective Chief Superintendent Pauline Stables.”