New figures reveal intimidation and abuse of MPs since Jo Cox murder
A special police unit set up to investigate harassment of MPs has recorded over 50 complaints in its first six months of operation.
The Metropolitan police’s parliamentary liaison and investigations team was set up following the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox last June.
Among its investigations so far have been 13 cases of theft, four of criminal damage and 33 of malicious communication such as Twitter trolling.
Labour MP Rachael Maskell said the level of intimidation and abuse would particularly put women off standing for Parliament.
"We already know that fewer women than men are in parliament, fewer women put themselves forward, and therefore we already have those inequalities built up for a range of reasons," she told the Guardian.
"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.”
Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said he thought "every single MP" had received online abuse, but women probably got "five times as many" hostile messages as their male colleagues.
Overall MPs have spent some £640,000 on extra security for themselves and their staff since Ms Cox's murder by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair.