Far-Right threatens British MPs Britain
Police are deploying patrols outside British MPs’ constituency offices this weekend and have warned MPs to take safety precautions, amid concerns that they might be targeted by farRight protesters.
Members of the pro-Brexit ‘‘yellow vest’’ movement have been using closed social media groups to discuss how they might single out specific Remainer MPs and ‘‘get them out of office’’. The movement, which came to prominence this week when members abused Conservative MP Anna Soubry outside Parliament, is planning a series of events across the country this weekend, including a march in London.
Hope Not Hate, the anti-racism organisation, said the far-Right was attempting to hijack the Brexit debate. It said a ‘‘motley band of far-Right activists’’ had already held protests outside the offices of Remain-supporting Labour MPs in northeast England.
MPs in Cardiff, one of the cities where Hope Not Hate suggested the activists might strike, confirmed that they had discussed their fears with police. One, who did not wish to be named, said they had been assured that their constituency office would be monitored by patrolling officers.
Anna McMorrin, the Cardiff North MP, said police had told her to take precautions and not advertise her whereabouts. ‘‘I’m not worried but I’m dismayed. It is pretty shocking,’’ she said. She had already stopped advertising where she held surgeries with constituents.
Three cases of alleged abuse and harassment by protesters outside Parliament have been referred by Scotland Yard for consideration by prosecutors. The Crown Prosecution Service has been asked to ‘‘test’’ whether the behaviour, including the heckling of Soubry, during which she was labelled a Nazi, went beyond lawful protest.
A group of pro-Brexit men has repeatedly targeted specific politicians, journalists and commentators on College Green, the area opposite Parliament used by broadcasters.
A security source said there was alarm at the behaviour because the aggressive targeting of MPs raised the spectre of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, who was killed by a far-Right terrorist in June 2016, during the Brexit referendum campaign.
Several MPs increased security arrangements in their constituencies after Cox’s murder, and some now hold constituency surgeries only at secure locations equipped with CCTV. Others have stopped holding ‘‘drop in’’ events and will only meet constituents who have made appointments.
Speaker John Bercow and more than 115 other MPs wrote letters this week to Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, calling on police to tackle the verbal abuse being meted out to Remainer MPs and commentators by activists.
Bercow said he had met Dick and was told that police had agreed to increase the security arrangements near Parliament. Steel barriers were erected yesterday outside the Carriage Gates entrance, where PC Keith Palmer was murdered by an Islamist terrorist last year.
Workers help to clear snow from inside the Hotel Saentis in Schwaegalp, Switzerland after it was hit by an avalanche during the severe winter weather gripping Europe.