Survey reveals abuse levels suffered by women MPs


More than half of women MPs have had a physical threat from a member of the public, a new survey reveals.

And nine out of 10 women MPs have been abused online - while 80% have been verbally attacked, according to the probe by BBC Radio Five Live.

Of the 73 MPs who replied to the survey, two thirds said they felt less safe after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.

A third of women MPs who responded said they had considered giving up their job because of the abuse, and one in six said they would not have stood for Parliament in the first place if they had known what was to come.

Speaking anonymously, one MP said: "The level of violence and abuse has significantly increased in the last years. At times I have been very frightened."

Another MP said: "The response by Parliament's authorities, and sadly the police service, remains highly cavalier in the face of death threats and threats of violence.

"We are expected to suck it up and accept it as part of our job. "

Two thirds of women MPs said they had heard sexist comments in Parliament, and nearly half said a crackdown on such behaviour was needed.

An MP replied to the survey saying: "Told by one MP (male) that perhaps my place was in the kitchen washing the dishes."

BBC Radio Five Live head of news Rozina Breen, said: "The purpose of this survey was to make sure our coverage of women's politics continues to be as well informed and accurate as possible.

"Additionally, it is important to us to understand the working conditions and potential obstacles that female MPs may face, but not necessarily speak up about.

"We discovered some very interesting aspects about the reality of working as a female MP in Parliament today and we would like to thank all who took part and shared their thoughts and suggestions."

One in five women MPs said having children contributed to a decision to turn down or not seek a promotion.