Pregnant MP seeks police protection after anti-abortion group targets her

A pregnant MP has asked the police for protection after an anti-abortion group launched a campaign against her.

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, who supported efforts to bring about a change in the law to see abortion decriminalised in Northern Ireland, was targeted by a group calling itself the Centre For Bioethical Reform UK.

A billboard poster was put up in her constituency by the group with an image of a foetus and a link to a website called Stop Stella.

Advertising agency Clear Channel, which owns the billboard, apologised and said on Tuesday it was taking immediate action to remove the posters.

CBRUK billboard advertisement
The billboard advert after it was painted over (Stella Creasy/Twitter/PA)

Ms Creasy said she has already received “numerous threats” and has sought police protection, and the help of the Commons authorities, although she said support has not been forthcoming.

Raising a point of order in the Commons, Ms Creasy said: “For the last six days an organisation calling itself the Centre For Bioethical Reform UK has been waging a campaign of intimidation and harassment against myself and by extension my constituents in Walthamstow.

“From turning up our town centre with a 20 foot banner of my head next to an image of a dead baby, of about the age of the baby I am currently carrying myself, proclaiming I am ‘working hard to achieve such an outcome’.

“From buying from Clear Channel billboards advertising in my constituency displaying graphic and graphic scientifically incorrect pictures of foetuses near to schools.

“To libelling me on national radio as someone who wishes to see abortion up to birth, to their Stop Stella campaign which explicitly encourages people to target me as a hypocrite for being pregnant and advocating for the right of all women to choose when to be.”

Twitter-can you get me the CEO of @CCUK_Direct advertising? how much did you get for this crap? @metpoliceuk still think this is just 'free speech' and not harassment of women in walthamstow? Am sorry for the graphic images and @patel4witham am reaching out to you for help now. pic.twitter.com/rOG7Gc3App

— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) September 30, 2019

She added: “They have already stated they will keep returning and targeting me until I stop campaigning.

“Already I have received numerous threats and abusive messages which directly quote their material.

“I have sought police assistance against this harassment.

“I am sad to report as yet none has been given including from the parliamentary authorities.”

She said she has received support from the London mayor Sadiq Khan and her local council.

Responding, Commons Speaker John Bercow condemned the group’s activity and offered to meet Ms Creasy to discuss security arrangements with the parliamentary authorities.

He added: “I believe that campaigning of that kind with the intensity involved and the explicit public threat to its apparently endless continuation is vile, unconscionable and despicable.”

Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said the Government is “similarly concerned about the nature of the campaign her”.

She added: “The Home Secretary has already offered to meet the honourable lady.

“We take these accusations very seriously and we will see what can be done.”

Tory MP Maria Caulfield (Lewes) also spoke to condemn the campaign against Ms Creasy.

She said: “As someone who sits on the opposite side of the debate in the abortion debate, can I just express my solidarity with her.

“The abuse and the billboards do nothing to further the abortion debate.

“It’s a very personal issue and we should use this place as a forum for debate but do it in a constructive, collaborative manner.

“And I just want to echo that they do not speak for all of us who may have a differing view on the abortion debate.”

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