Monday 5 December 2016

Labour MP Neil Coyle reports Twitter user to police over 'death threat'

Published 03/12/2015 | 22:16

The MP has reported an alleged death threat made to him on Twitter.
The MP has reported an alleged death threat made to him on Twitter.

A Labour MP has reported a Twitter user to the police over an alleged death threat aimed at him for supporting the Syrian bombing campaign.

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The complaint came as Scotland Yard said it was aware of a series of threats made to MPs made on social media.

Neil Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, received a message which contained images of knives and said "u voted for airstrikes in syria, if i see u round ends".

Labour's most senior figures, leader Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson, have reiterated in an email to members that "abuse and intimidation" were unacceptable after a series of MPs who voted for military action were subjected to abuse from activists.

There was no indication that the Twitter user who sent the message to Mr Coyle was a Labour member.

Mr Coyle told MailOnline: "I've gone to the police over this threat. I'm no traitor - I voted with my conscience just like Jeremy."

The Metropolitan Police confirmed it was assessing a number of online threats relating to MPs.

A spokesman said: "Police are aware of a number of threats made on social media relating to MPs. The assessment of these threats is ongoing."

There were calls in the Commons for MPs' security to be reviewed following a campaign by anti-war protesters bombarding MPs with images of dead babies and severed heads.

Shadow Commons leader Chris Bryant highlighted the issue of abuse targeted at MPs planning to support bombing of Islamic State in Syria.

Commons leader Chris Grayling said security was a "continuing priority" adding MPs must be allowed to express views in a "free and unfettered" way.

Mr Coyle said: "I thought it was unacceptable and reported it to Twitter, who acted very quickly in suspending that account, and I thank Twitter for that, and I have reported it to the police and to the Serjeant at Arms at the House of Commons.

"Everyone has acted really quickly. I'm not convinced this person is actually genuinely going to turn up, but the police have been really supportive and have said they are going to be outside my surgery tomorrow morning."

Mr Coyle said that was "not great use of their resources when they are being squeezed by the Government already, I would prefer them to be out doing real police work than trying to defend me from someone who may or may not turn up and is misusing Twitter to make a threat".

He told Sky News: "The way people use Twitter, increasingly, it's comedy cats and it's outrage. The outrage factor is growing and people feed off each other.

"There just seems to be this nasty keyboard warrior side that comes out of people that is unacceptable. It's really difficult for the police to estimate who is a real and genuine threat and who is someone who is just trying to draw attention to themselves and acting like an idiot."

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