There were emotional scenes in the Commons after an MP raised the death of the daughter of Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle and asked for more to be done to help victims of domestic abuse.
Ex-cabinet minister John Whittingdale used Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday to ask Theresa May to support a website set up in memory of Natalie Lewis-Hoyle, who took her own life last year.
The Maldon MP said the 28-year-old was one of his constituents and had been in a coercive relationship in which she was subjected to gaslighting - a form of mental abuse and manipulation.
He asked the PM if she would support the ‘Chat With Nat’ website set up by Natalie’s mother, Cllr Miriam Lewis, aimed at helping and advising those suffering in similar circumstances.
Lindsay Hoyle - who sat in the public gallery at the question was asked - was comforted by colleague Eleanor Laing, who patted his arm.
May offered Natalie’s parents her “deepest sympathies and condolences” and thanked Whittingdale for drawing her attention to the campaign, which she said had her “full support”.
“I am sure it is going to provide much-needed help and advice to those who are in the most difficult and painful of circumstances,” she added.
The PM said there had been nearly 300 successful prosecutions since the law was changed to make coercive control in intimate relationships a specific offence.
She added: “I think this shows what a problem this issue is out there.
“We are always looking at what more can be done and we are currently looking in our consultation on transforming the law on domestic abuse and violence for ideas on how this offence can be further strengthened to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.”
At the time of Natalie’s death at her Essex home in December, Hoyle said his family had been “overwhelmed” with support and kindness.
“I am truly devastated by the death of our beautiful daughter Natalie,” the Chorley MP added.
“Our family will never be the same without our loving granddaughter, sister and aunty.
“She was a person that loved life. She was life. She brought life to everybody.”
An inquest into her death last month recorded an open verdict.