Jo Cox murder: Norwich MP speaks out about ‘unacceptable aggression’ towards her
- Credit: Archant
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has described how she has experienced instances of 'unacceptable aggression' towards her whilst carrying out constituency work.
Her remarks follow the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in her West Yorkshire constituency on Thursday which has sparked a debate about aggression directed towards MPs and whether MPs need more security.
Ms Smith described the murder of the mother of two as 'shocking and saddening' and said her thoughts are with her young family.
The Conservative politician, who was first elected in 2009, said she had experienced 'unacceptable aggression'.
Ms Smith said: 'As a hard-working local MP, I hold lots of surgeries, often in libraries and other public places so that it's convenient for constituents.
'I'm personally well aware of the balance between safety and accessibility as I go about my work.
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'Sadly, I have experienced instances of unacceptable aggression and I have also seen stupid actions which hurt others, like when I received a 'white powder' threat envelope which then closed off a whole office building in Norwich.
'However, obviously most people are civil and sensible and so I love my job and I love the people I work for.'
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This paper reported last week that Ms Smith had changed the address she asks constituents to write to one in Westminster due to the added security at the Houses of Commons.
Ms Smith added: 'I believe British MPs have a wonderful and unusual role in being so close to their constituents and I shall continue, as always, working for the people of Norwich North in every way I can.'
Katie Pruszynski, a former assistant to Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, described MPs as 'lightning rods for people who are angry and frustrated' and someone had once threatened to eat her 'like a wolf'.
She told The Yorkshire Post: 'MPs are so public-facing and not infrequently you would get someone desperately upset and emotional and that can extend into being threatening and abusive and sometimes there are people who are quite disturbed.
'I remember being screamed at by someone clearly quite disturbed that they would find me and eat me like a wolf.'