Skip to main content

Point of Order

Volume 732: debated on Tuesday 2 May 2023

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker, given the concerning incident reported over the weekend of the abuse and harassment directed at my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy), can I ask whether Mr Speaker has received an update on this specific case from Leicestershire police or any other police force? I am sure that the whole House will be concerned by the impact such incidents can have on people standing for office, especially women. Is there any updated guidance from the parliamentary security department for MPs and our staff who receive abuse? Does Mr Speaker have any suggestions for how we can pursue this further? MPs and, crucially, future MPs need to know that neither they nor their families need put up with serious harassment. They should be allowed to serve their constituents without being targeted in this way simply because somebody disagrees with them.

I thank the hon. Lady for her point of order and forward notice of it. She raises a very important issue indeed. As she knows, we do not normally speak about security matters on the Floor of the House, so please forgive me if I do not inform the House as to what activity Mr Speaker has been involved in with regard to this particular matter. I agree with her totally about the impact that this sort of activity—abuse and harassment—has on MPs, their staff, their families and those thinking of entering politics.

I encourage any Member who has been subject to the sort of appalling abuse and harassment to which the hon. Lady refers to report it to the Metropolitan police’s parliamentary liaison and investigation team, PLaIT. It will co-ordinate a police investigation in response. Members will also wish to be aware that the parliamentary security department provides general and bespoke security advice to MPs, liaising with PLaIT and local police forces. I advise any hon. or right hon. Members with concerns to contact PLaIT or the parliamentary security department in the first instance.

Finally, I know that those on the Treasury Bench will have heard the exchange, and I am sure that Ministers will now want to consider carefully whether there is any action they could appropriately take, such as the issuing of guidance to public services dealing with these issues. I thank the hon. Member again for raising this important issue, and I am sure that she and others will wish to pursue this particular matter, and that Mr Speaker will continue to keep this issue under his review.