'I was threatened with acid attack,' reveals deputy PM Dominic Raab

·5-min read

Watch: 'Someone threatened to throw acid over me,' says deputy PM

Dominic Raab has revealed he was "recently" threatened with an acid attack, as he outlined MPs' safety fears in the wake of Sir David Amess's murder.

The justice secretary and deputy prime minister's comments came after Conservative MP Sir David was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Friday.

The 69-year-old MP’s death has led to debate about security measures for MPs and a call to ban anonymity on social media in the face of increasing online abuse.

Read more: The ‘dedicated’ Tory MP stabbed to death while meeting constituents

On Monday, Raab was asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain about the possibility of MPs wearing stab-proof vests.

Justice secretary and deputy prime minister Dominic Raab said he had been threatened with an acid attack. (ITV)
Justice secretary and deputy prime minister Dominic Raab said he had been threatened with an acid attack. (ITV)

He replied: “I’m happy to look at any practical measures, but the reality is that people will threaten you with something else.

“The most recent threat I’ve had was someone threatening to throw acid over me.

“That was very recently.”

Raab said there had been an “intervention” in relation to the threat but didn’t elaborate.

He said: “I will not be deterred from doing my job.”

In a separate interview on Monday with BBC Breakfast, Raab said he has had three “threats to life and limb” in the past two years.

“There will be people who have worse abuse than me, and I particularly feel for the female MPs, and I know colleagues of mine who have come off, for example, Twitter because it’s just so vile,” he said.

“I have had three threats to life and limb over the last two years.”

He said those incidents “all resulted in an intervention”, but did not give further details.

Meanwhile, police said on Monday that a man has been arrested on suspicion of sending a death threat to Labour MP Chris Bryant.

“I can’t tell you much because the police have arrested this chap,” he told the PA Media news agency.

“I got off a flight from Qatar, where oddly enough David Amess was as well – we have been looking at what’s happening to the refugees from Afghanistan who are all transiting through Doha.

“I got back on Saturday and the first message in my inbox was this death threat, pretty clear, so I notified the police and they have taken action.”

Shadow leader of the House of Commons Chris Bryant speaks during the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, Sussex.
A man has been arrested on suspicion of sending a death threat to Labour MP Chris Bryant. (PA)

Bryant said MPs had been subjected to a “steady stream of horrific abuse” in recent years.

“It’s pretty sour. It’s more sour now than I’ve known it in 20 years,” he said.

Bryant said his Rhondda constituency office has been targeted in the last year by an “angry mob” of anti-vaccine protesters, and the year before it was daubed with the word “traitor” over Brexit.

A South Wales Police spokeswoman said: “South Wales Police was called around 4.30pm on Saturday 16 October following reports of malicious communications being sent to a 59-year-old man from Porth.

Read more: Sir David Amess pleaded with PM to tackle knife murders 7 months ago

“A 76-year-old man from Pontycmer, Bridgend, has been arrested on suspicion of malicious communications.”

Meanwhile, Raab has backed calls to look at a ban on social media anonymity in the wake of Sir David's death.

On Sunday, home secretary Priti Patel did not rule out banning anonymity on social media.

She was backed by Raab, who told Sky News: “I don’t see why people should be able to abuse a position on social media from a veil of anonymity.

“On balance, I think there is a case for really looking very carefully at this.”

However, Raab said he did not want to “send a message to tyrants all over the world that they can expose” campaigners who need anonymity.

A candle and a photo at a vigil at St Michael & All Angels church in Leigh-on-Sea Essex for Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who died after he was stabbed several times at a constituency surgery on Friday. (PA)
A candle and a photo at a vigil at St Michael & All Angels church in Leigh-on-Sea Essex for Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who died after he was stabbed several times at a constituency surgery on Friday. (PA)
Sir David Amess was stabbed to death last Friday at a constituency meeting in Essex. (PA)
Sir David Amess was stabbed to death last Friday at a constituency meeting in Essex. (PA)

Sir David’s family left floral tributes outside the church where he was stabbed to death.

His widow, Julia, wiped tears from her eyes on the visit to Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Monday morning.

The family spent more than 15 minutes looking through the messages that people had written.

A spokesman for the prime minister said Boris Johnson believes Sir David’s death “cannot get in the way of democracy”.

The spokesman said: “While individual arrangements should rightly remain a matter for individual MPs and police, the prime minister shares the concerns with a number of MPs and ministers that this attack cannot get in the way of democracy.

“We will not be cowed by those who seek to divide us and spread hate and the PM has been struck by the bravery and commitment to serving constituents expressed by many MPs following Sir David’s death.”

The House of Commons observed a minute’s silence in memory of Sir David at 2.30pm on Monday.

Speaking in the Commons, Patel said: “His killing is a terrible and sad moment in our history, an attack on our democracy and an appalling tragedy.

Read more: Boris Johnson pays tribute to ‘kind and gentle’ Tory MP

In a statement on Sunday, his wife, four daughters and son said: “Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David. He was a patriot and a man of peace.

“So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness.

“Whatever one’s race, religious or political beliefs, be tolerant and try to understand.”

A 25-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of Sir David’s murder and remains in police custody.

He has been detained under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and detectives are expected to continue to question him until Friday after a warrant of further detention was granted.

Watch: Deputy PM says 'vile' online abuse directed at MPs has got to stop

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