WATCH: Commons Speaker John Bercow defends Tory MPs branded 'traitors' by Brexit press

Posted On: 
18th December 2017

John Bercow has mounted a strong defence of rebel Tory MPs accused of being "mutineers" and "malcontents" by the pro-Brexit press.

Commons Speaker John Bercow defended MPs who have faced criticism.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Commons Speaker said they were "dedicated, hard-working, committed public servants" who did not deserve the abuse which they had received.

Both the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail have put photographs on their front pages of Conservative backbenchers who have defied the Government over its EU Withdrawal Bill.

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Anna Soubry revealed that in the wake of voting against the Government last week, she had received an email which said: "You deserve to be HUNG for your attack on our democracy yesterday."

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who also rebelled against his party, was also told "you'll get what's coming to you".

Speaking in the Commons, a clearly-angry Mr Bercow said: "In voting as you see fit on any political issue, you as members of parliament are never mutineers, you are never traitors, you are never malcontents, you are never enemies of the people.

"You are dedicated, hard-working, committed public servants doing what you believe to be right for this country."

His comments came after Home Secretary Amber Rudd also condemned those who target MPs for abuse. She said: "Threats of violence and intimidation are completely unacceptable and have no place in our politics.

"Everybody should be treated with tolerance, decency and respect. Which party an MP stands for, how they choose to vote and campaign should not be met with vitriolic and disgusting messages suggesting they should be hung in public, get what's coming to them or perhaps most disgustingly of all that their unborn child should die."

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, who has come in for a deluge of abuse on social media, said: "Nobody who has ever sat at home and seen hundreds of abusive tweets flood their timeline should underestimate the psychological pressure it puts on us all.

"When the politicians get death threats as a result of how they vote in this house this is not the primary response of social media companies, it is the headline writers who accuse judges of being enemies of the people or accuse elected politicians of being mutineers or saboteurs."

However, Ms Rudd refused several opportunities to criticise the newspapers for their front pages.