Yvette Cooper Says Police Must Explain Nicola Bulley Alcohol Comments

The senior Labour MP said the actions of the police were “very unusual”.
Labour shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper
Labour shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper has called on Lancashire Police to explain themselves after they released sensitive information about missing mother Nicola Bulley.

Labour’s shadow home secretary said the actions of the police were “very unusual” after they disclosed that Bulley, 45, had struggled with alcohol and the menopause.

Detectives previously said Bulley had “specific vulnerabilities” that made her a “high-risk” missing person - but they did not specify what those were.

They later released a statement in a bid to explain what they meant which said: “Nicola had in the past suffered with some significant issues with alcohol which were brought on by her ongoing struggles with the menopause and that these struggles had resurfaced over recent months.”

However, the comments sparked a backlash from politicians across the House who have questioned the need to release personal details.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP tells #KayBurley she will be questioning Lancashire Police about the decision to release personal details of Nicola Bulley in yesterday's press conference

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— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 16, 2023

Cooper told Sky News: “I do have a lot of questions and concerns about that. I would want to speak directly to Lancashire Police about their reasons for doing so before commenting further, because I know there can be complicated reasons for police decisions.

“It’s very unusual and it does raise some quite significant concerns.”

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, who chairs the foreign affairs committee, said on Twitter: “I am deeply uncomfortable with the police releasing Nicola Bulley’s so-called ‘vulnerabilities’ on menopause and alcohol.

“I struggle to ascertain how this will assist police in their search and investigations. I do see how it would assist those wishing to victim-blame or diminish.”

Lancashire Police broadcasting missing Nicola Bulley’s health issues and hormone status to the world is a *serious* invasion of her privacy with no obvious benefits for the investigation. A shocking decision when the police’s treatment of women is rightly in the spotlight. https://t.co/0G8gBSdsQl

— Silkie Carlo (@silkiecarlo) February 15, 2023

Meanwhile, Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, added: “The decision to disclose this level of detail on a missing person’s private life, with no evidence that this is assisting in finding her, is deeply troubling.

“The police need to be much clearer as to why any of this helps find Nicola Bulley or support this investigation.”

Bulley vanished after dropping off her daughters, aged six and nine, at school on January 27 in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire.

She was last seen at 9.10am taking her usual route with her springer spaniel Willow, alongside the River Wyre.

Her phone, still connected to a work call for her job as a mortgage adviser, was found just over 20 minutes later on a bench overlooking the riverbank, with her dog running loose.

Since she vanished, huge public and media interest has resulted in what police described as “false information, accusations and rumours” and an “unprecedented” search of both the River Wyre, downstream to Morecambe Bay and miles of neighbouring farmland.


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