Esther McVey claims John McDonnell 'lynching' comments put her in danger

Posted On: 
7th December 2018

Esther McVey has claimed that her personal safety was put at risk by John McDonnell after he repeated a comment that she should be "lynched".

Esther McVey quit as Work and Pensions Secretary last month.
Credit: 
PA Images

The former Work and Pensions Secretary, who quit last month in protest at Theresa May's Brexit deal, told The Daily Telegraph that the remark made her life "difficult and dangerous" and said it had led to her being followed.

Mr McDonnell has repeatedly refused to apologise for the comment, which he made at a public meeting before becoming Shadow Chancellor three years ago.

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Referring to a campaign in Liverpool to have Ms McVey sacked, he said: "I spoke at a packed public meeting and there was a whole group in the audience that kicked off, quite critical of the whole concept, because they were arguing 'why are we sacking her, why aren't we lynching the b*****d'?"

Ms McVey said: "Labour always made it very personal against me because I was a Liverpudlian who dared to become a Conservative. Then I stood and after 10 years I won and they couldn’t believe that would happen in a Merseyside area. Then I was put in charge of benefits.

"When I got the lynching comments I thought - you haven’t thought about the power of your words, John McDonnell, to come into a council estate and say something like that unthinkingly.

"Maybe you’re not going to do anything John, but you don’t understand what could happen on social media and you didn’t realise what unforeseen consequences and how dangerous then my life was going to become in that area.”

She added: "He made life difficult and dangerous. He was a bully, he was inciting violence."

Ms McVey said Mr McDonnell "just keeps his head down" when she sees him in Parliament.

The Shadow Chancellor has insisted he was simply repeating was someone else had said and was not inciting violence against the Tory MP.