29 December 2021

More than 100 harassment and stalking cases reported in Parliament

29 December 2021

More than 100 cases of harassment and stalking were reported in Parliament over the last two years, while six knives were seized from people entering the estate, new data shows.

The figures, obtained by the Daily Mail, give an insight into the threats faced by politicians following the killing of two MPs in the space of just over five years.

The Mail found that 117 cases of “harassment” and “stalking” – including the sending of letters with intent to cause distress or anxiety – were reported within the Houses of Parliament between January 2020 and September this year.

But most of the alleged incidents are likely to have taken place online or elsewhere, with only the reports themselves made on the estate.

Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who has previously spoken of the abuse she has faced over her stance on trans issues, told the Mail she thinks the true number of cases could actually be far greater.

Labour MP Rosie Duffield has previously faced abuse over her stance on trans issues (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it was at least three times higher,” she said.

“People don’t report them, or they get used to these kinds of things – or MPs don’t even know because their staff are dealing with them.”

Meanwhile, figures released to the newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that six weapons were seized at the entrance to the Parliamentary Estate over the past two years.

They included a small lock knife, a small knife and a Swiss army knife.

Last month, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner revealed that at least one of her children wants her to stand down as an MP due to the number of threats she has received.

Debates over the safety of MPs were reignited in October, when Conservative Sir David Amess was killed as he prepared to meet his Southend West constituents.

In 2016, Jo Cox was murdered outside a constituency surgery meeting while serving as Labour MP for Batley and Spen.

Tributes left outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where Conservative MP Sir David Amess was killed (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police encouraged MPs to “immediately report any security concerns” to their local force to keep themselves safe.

“During the period January 1 2020 to September 30 2021 there were 117 cases of stalking or harassment reported to the Met’s Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team (PLaIT) by individuals within the Houses of Parliament,” he said.

“The majority of these incidents took place online or at other locations and relate to written correspondence.”

The spokesman added: “Forces review MP security advice frequently, based on an assessment of changing threats and risk. Strong political opinions are no excuse for abuse, harassment or intimidation of members of the public or parliamentarians.

“Police will treat such allegations seriously and seek to bring offenders to justice.

“We encourage MPs to immediately report any security concerns to their local police force in order to keep themselves, their staff, families, and members of the public attending surgeries safe.”

On the seizure of weapons, the Met told the Mail: “Typically, around one million visitors attend the Palace of Westminster each year and the seizure of weapons reflects that there is an effective search regime in place.”

A Parliamentary spokesman said: “While we cannot comment on the specifics of our security, we work closely with the police, security services and others to ensure that our security measures are effective. Any allegation of criminal activity would be taken seriously.”

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