West Yorkshire's women MPs fall victim to Brexit's toxic culture

Three high-profile female MPs have revealed their ongoing battle with threats of abuse and violence, and discussed their safety fears as Brexit fuels anger against them.

Monday, 4th March 2019, 10:34 am
Updated Monday, 4th March 2019, 12:08 pm
West Yorkshire MPs Rachel Reeves, Mary Creagh and Andrea Jenkyns have all spoken out about the stream of harassment aimed at them and their colleagues.

West Yorkshire MPs Rachel Reeves, Mary Creagh and Andrea Jenkyns have all spoken out about the stream of harassment aimed at them and their colleagues.

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The women also said fears over their security had caused them to be more cautious about engaging with their communities, with all three saying they had become more discreet about advertising events and had stepped up safety measures in their local offices.

The intervention comes in the wake of high-profile threats made against two more of Yorkshire's female MPs, with Paula Sherriff (MP for Dewsbury) revealing last month that swastikas had been left outside her constituency office, and fears over Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper's safety leading to an arrest.

The incidents have fuelled concerns for MPs locally, who have been ramping up safety measures since the tragic murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox in 2016.

Since Ms Cox's death, spending on MPs' security has skyrocketed from £170,000 in 2015/16 to £4.2m in 2017/18, however the rising tide of abuse, particularly online, has yet to be tackled effectively.

And although West Yorkshire's female MPs remain determined not to be cowed by the harassment, they all believe more could be done to tackle the toxic culture that has developed in recent years.