20/03/2017 09:09 GMT

MPs Targeted More Than 50 Times Since Jo Cox Murder

Police probed 33 reports of malicious communications.

MPs have been targeted more than 50 times in the six months since the murder of Jo Cox.

Between last August and early February, Metropolitan Police’s Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team followed up on 33 reports of malicious communications, 13 reports of theft, three reports of harassment and four allegations of criminal damage.

The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, come amid mounting concern that MPs are facing unprecedented levels of abuse online and after Labour’s Diane Abbott called for a parliamentary inquiry

In the wake of Cox’s death, a week before the EU Referendum, it emerged that nearly £640,000 was spent on bolstering security for MPs.

Police have investigated more than 50 reports of crimes committed against MPs since Jo Cox was murdered in June 2016

According to Ipsa, 66 MPs were granted “enhanced” security packages after Cox’s death, indicating that police may consider they are at a greater risk.

Labour MP Rachael Maskell said she fears the “detestable” abuse could put women off standing for Parliament.

Sky News quoted her as saying: “We already know that fewer women than men are in Parliament, fewer women put themselves forward to be in Parliament, and therefore we already have those inequalities built up for a range of reasons.

“And this is another layer, another factor. It has obviously hit across gender but there has been a particular focus on women, so I do think that is a wider concern.”

Diane Abbott has called for a parliamentary inquiry into abuse directed at MPs

Lib Dem chief whip Tom Brake has been quoted as saying that Brexit had “drawn out” abuse directed at MPs.

He said: “I received a message from someone telling me ‘you should think very carefully about how you vote for the future of your family’, which I referred to the police.

Neo-Nazi Thomas Mair, 53, was given a whole life sentence in November last year for shooting and stabbing Cox as she arrived at Birstall library in West Yorkshire for a surgery on June 16.