Jeremy Corbyn has been told to do more to stop his supporters’ “disgusting and totally unacceptable” abuse of his own female Labour MPs, who say they face mounting abuse and harassment in the bitter leadership election.
The MPs told him they had faced “rape threats, death threats, smashed cars and bricks through the windows” and say in the letter: “Jeremy, this is being done in your name.”
They specifically cited Corbyn’s vote against a secret ballot at the National Executive Committee meeting last week, which was granted after members said they feared intimidation.
At that meeting, it was decided Corbyn was automatically on the ballot in the leadership contest, effectively saving his leadership prospects.
MP Paula Sherriff shared the letter to Twitter, showing it was signed by 45 of the party’s 99 female MPs.
”The culture of hatred and division that is being sown does not benefit anyone,” the letter says.
“We understand that the leadership does not have total control over those who choose to threaten and abuse others but that does not mean more cannot be done to safeguard our female colleagues.
“Your decision to vote against a secret ballot in the National Executive Committee meeting was on such instance in which more could have been done.”
The letter also condemned Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell for addressing rallies where abuse and harassment was “actively encouraged and quietly condoned”, adding: “Senior Labour figures should be accountable for their actions in supporting events where such behaviour would appear to be encouraged.”
The letter also says Corbyn should commit to “actively challenging” all abuse and and making an “unequivocal statement” supporting his MPs while they campaign in the leadership election.
Sherriff published the letter on Friday afternoon, just after Len McCluskey was quoted claiming some of the abuse was MI5 agents passing themselves off as Corbyn supporters.
He told The Guardian: “Well I tell you what, anybody who thinks that that isn’t happening doesn’t live in the same world that I live in.”