Senior Labour MP says she contacted police over threat
A senior Labour MP has said she contacted the police after receiving a threatening message.
Preet Kaur Gill, the first female Sikh MP and the shadow secretary of state for international development, spoke out after receiving an email telling her: “Watch your back”.
The Birmingham Edgbaston MP told GB News that she has felt the need to increase security at the constituency surgery meetings, where she also has a bodyguard.
“It was very direct. It’s a worry because I’m with my daughters in the constituency all the time. My family live there. It really puts into context the kind of job that you do.
“It’s tough enough as it is, but then when you’re faced with that, there’s very little support.
“This latest direct threat has really worried and concerned me. As a woman, when you put yourself forward and you want to address injustices and you care about issues that affect your constituents, you’re then faced with people that think it’s OK to say this sort of stuff to you.”
“I could not believe that this person used their place of work email to actually make that threat,” she told the broadcaster.
“Normally most people would probably use an alias, or try different ways of sort of creating a hate campaign. I’ve had huge amounts of hate campaigns created against me through WhatsApp groups too.”
PA news agency has contacted West Midlands Police about the incident.
She described the impact it has had on her constituency work.
“Once you’ve raised it with the police, they’ve got to go away and do an investigation, but there’s no real understanding of the impact it has on you, your everyday work, the psychological impact, the kind of always looking behind your shoulder.
“That’s why for my surgery I have security. I have security because I know that there are individuals that come to surgery that could possibly pose a threat.”
The MP said that she did not want to restrict her local surgeries, as she shared her worries about her staff.
“I worry not just about my safety but about theirs. I don’t want to restrict my surgeries, I don’t want to go to an appointment-based system, I want to be able to be open and be in my community and make sure that people feel that they can have that access to myself.”
She also said that female parliamentarians appear to be subject to greater abuse than men, with abuse now “part of the job”.
“I think racism and misogyny almost feels like it’s part of the job as a Member of Parliament, I have to say. As a woman, I feel I’ve seen the comparisons of males doing my role, especially Asian or white males.
“And actually, they don’t have the same sort of criticism levied at them or the remarks made at them.”