Bercow calls for police to tackle ‘toxic’ attacks on MPs outside Parliament

The Commons Speaker has demanded police tackle the “aggressive, threatening and intimidating behaviour” towards politicians and journalists outside Parliament.

John Bercow hit out at “toxic attacks” in a letter to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick the day after MP Anna Soubry was branded a Nazi by a mob during television interviews.

He said he supported more than 50 MPs who also wrote to Ms Dick to express their “serious concerns” about the “deteriorating public order and security situation” outside Parliament”.

Scotland Yard said on Tuesday that officers near Parliament have been “briefed to intervene appropriately” if the law is broken, amid a visible increase in the police presence in Westminster.

The force is assessing whether any crime was committed by the protesters who hurled abuse at Ms Soubry and campaigners Owen Jones and Femi Oluwole on Monday.

In his letter to Ms Dick, the Speaker said: “It is, frankly, intolerable if Members of Parliament and journalists cannot go about their lawful business without being ritually insulted, abused, intimidated, threatened and harassed.

“There seems to be a pattern here of a regular coterie of burly white men who are effectively targeting and denouncing Members whom they recognise and dislike — most notably female and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.”


Speaking in the Commons as the letter was published, Mr Bercow described the intimidation as “a type of fascism”.

Ms Soubry told Good Morning Britain on Tuesday that there was a small group of people “roaming around Westminster intimidating people going about their lawful business”.

The Tory MP for Broxtowe added that, while she anticipated a level of criticism and abuse as an MP, she expected authorities to act when it “crossed the line”.

She told GMB: “It crossed the line in December, it was journalists who were being attacked.

“(Sky News’ political editor) Faisal Islam, who is male, was racially abused by these people, it’s the same group, all on video, and the policy of the Metropolitan Police is to ignore it.”