UK

Women MPs Face Horrific Levels Of Abuse, BBC Radio Five Live Survey Finds

Two-thirds said they felt less safe after the murder of Jo Cox.

25/01/2017 08:20 GMT | Updated 25/01/2017 08:24 GMT
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A historic group picture of some of Labour's women MP's outside Parliament

More than half of women MPs have received a physical threat from a member of the public, a new survey has revealed.

And nine out of 10 women MPs said they had been abused online - while 80% have been verbally attacked, according to an investigation by BBC Radio Five Live.

Shockingly, one in six MPs said they would not have stood for Parliament in the first place if they had known what was to come.

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More than half of women MPs have had a physical threat from a member of the public, a survey found.

Of the 73 MPs who replied to the survey, two-thirds said they felt less safe after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in June last year, and a third said they had considered giving up their job because of the abuse.

Speaking anonymously, one MP said: “The level of violence and abuse has significantly increased in the last years. At times I have been very frightened.”

Another MP said: “The response by Parliament’s authorities, and sadly the police service, remains highly cavalier in the face of death threats and threats of violence.

“We are expected to suck it up and accept it as part of our job. “

The SNP’s Anne McLaughlin said she feared women would be put off entering politics.

BBC
The SNP’s Anne McLaughlin said she feared women would be put off entering politics

Two thirds of women MPs said they had heard sexist comments in Parliament, and nearly half said a crackdown on such behaviour was needed, the Press Association reported.

An MP replied to the survey saying: “Told by one MP (male) that perhaps my place was in the kitchen washing the dishes.”

BBC Radio Five Live’s Rozina Breen said: “The purpose of this survey was to make sure our coverage of women’s politics continues to be as well informed and accurate as possible.”

Yui Mok/PA Wire
Two-thirds of women MPs in the survey said they felt less safe after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox

Breen added: “Additionally, it is important to us to understand the working conditions and potential obstacles that female MPs may face, but not necessarily speak up about.

“We discovered some very interesting aspects about the reality of working as a female MP in Parliament today and we would like to thank all who took part and shared their thoughts and suggestions.”

One in five women MPs said having children contributed to a decision to turn down or not seek a promotion.