Suffolk MPs reveal death threats and disgusting abuse

Suffolk MPs Tom Hunt, Dan Poulter and James Cartlidge

Suffolk MPs have spoken out about the death threats and abuse they receive in the wake of the killing of Sir David Amess' - Credit: Office of James Cartlidge/Sarah Lucy Brown/Paul Geater

Suffolk MPs have said they regularly receive threats of violence — including death threats — in the wake of the killing of Southend MP Sir David Amess last week.

MPs say they have been left "unnerved" and their staff have struggled to deal with "unprovoked abuse" from constituents and members of the public.

Among the threats sent to Suffolk MPs are numerous death threats, along with one person who threatened to disembowel an MP.

One threat was even "very similar" to the manifesto left by the mass-shooter who killed 51 worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019.

Dr Dan Poulter, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP, said: "I've been an MP now for 11 and a half years and the quantity and intensity of the abuse received by both me personally and by my staff has increased during that time.

Dr Dan Poulter

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"There are some emails that stand out in my mind over the years — the threat of being disembowelled by one constituent — and there have been a number of occasions where we've had to involve the police."

Dr Poulter said the police had deemed threats "credible" on a number of occasions in the past, and action had been taken against people making the threats.

Most Read

He said: "There was a situation with somebody who would come and sit outside the constituency office in his car for lengthy periods waiting for me — or somebody who he thought worked in my office — to come out and the police had to be involved.

"A couple of times people have turned up drunk and abusive at the office as well.

"There have been those implicit physical threats. They're issues that my staff and team have had to face and they shouldn't have to face that. It is not acceptable."

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt spoke of the need to "dial down the rhetoric".

Mr Hunt said he had been left "unnerved" by a death threat left on his voicemail one afternoon which police were called in to deal with.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt - Credit: PAUL GEATER

"The police looked into it and they visited the individual in question, he apologised and I decided I didn't want to take it any further," he said.

"I think he just had a bad day and got out of the wrong side of the bed in the morning — but he needs to realise there's a cause and a consequence.

"You cannot under any circumstance — no matter how strongly you feel about something I may have voted on or position I hold — you cannot phone up a fellow human being and leave a voicemail like that."

Despite this Mr Hunt said that amount of abuse he suffered was "middle of the road" for the amount suffered by MPs.

"I have had many colleagues who have had worse abuse," he said. "And sadly, for whatever reason, it does seem that many of these are female members of parliament."

The killing of Sir David Amess at a constituency surgery has sparked further discussion of how MPs are protected.

In the wake of this, at least one of the county's politicians has announced they are reviewing the security measures they have in place.

James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk, said: “Obviously we are all still reeling in parliament following the tragic death of our dear friend Sir David Amess.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge - Credit: Office of James Cartlidge

"As far as my views about MP's working arrangements, I would not support fundamental changes to the way we interact with constituents, as this could undermine democracy.

“That said, it is obviously crucial that we take whatever steps we can to ensure the safety of MPs, MPs staff and constituents attending public events.

"As such, I will be reviewing our security policies with my team and it is right that the same is done at a national level.”

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill said: “Last week’s tragic murder of a second MP in five years has once again highlighted the need for kindness and compassion in politics.

"I receive abuse on social media and via email on a regular basis, often from anonymous accounts. Much of the abuse is misogynistic and I am targeted simply because I am a female MP.

 "I try not to pay much attention to the abuse, as I would much rather focus on the job at hand, representing the wonderful people of the Bury St Edmunds constituency, which stretches from Needham Market to the edge of Diss.

 "I will continue to remain accessible to constituents, carrying out visits which I thoroughly enjoy and holding surgeries.

"I will however for the time being continue to hold my surgeries online, which I have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic, they are often more efficient and accessible way for dealing with individuals problems."

 "It is right that the parliamentary authorities are carrying out a review into members and members’ staff security, so we are able to continue doing our jobs in the safest way possible.”

All seven Suffolk MPs were contacted for comment.

Below are some of the abusive messages received by MPs in the county:

"Hand that Chemistry PhD back, you ignorant *****. Just resign you evil piece of subhuman scum. Both my grandfathers shot Nazi ***** like you in order to protect this country, I won't hesitate to emulate them."

"You dishonest fat piece of ****. Children go hungry because of you and that other **** Duncan-Smith. You eat well obviously. I pray daily for someone to kick your fat head in you know. Anyway eat **** and die ya fat lump of donkey ****."

"Come visit so I can smash your fat, ugly face in. Dog features."

"Yo spawn of Satan. give NHS staff an actual wage. Because being a big piece of **** must be tiring? You ever feel bad about being a terrible human,? Huh? I just need to know if you actually sleep at night because everything single thing you vote against in writing it down. So when you finnaly kick the bucket. In gonna be there, paper in hand looking at your gravestone. Making sure that people know how much of an ******* you are.

"Burn in hell *****. 

"Kind regards, the person who spits in your coffee you ******* *****."

"Just look at your face you pathetic excuse for a human being!"

"You are a bully boy ****" 

“Are you idiots trying to start a civil war we voted out so bloody get over it we should be taking up arms against you idiots.”

“My platoon and I have had enough of you scumbags letting in millions of people in to the country. So we are going to get rid of MPs and all migrants if you all refuse to go you will be strung up.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter