Labour's Angela Rayner 'doesn't go out' after 'scary' confrontation with protesters

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner sys her family were scared for her (PA)
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner sys her family were scared for her (PA)

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has said she is scared to go out socially after being targeted by protesters amid the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.

Speaking in an interview with Sky News on Friday, the Labour frontbencher said she had been forced to change her day-to-day behaviour after being intimidated in public.

It comes after Golders Green MP, Mike Freer, announced his intention to quit politics after multiple threats including an arson attack on his constituency office.

Last week Ms Rayner was confronted by a protester at a Labour fundraiser in Stockport over the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, which led to her being escorted away by police.

She told the broadcaster: "If someone is shouting and then they come over at you, you don't know what's coming, I didn't know what's coming at me. And it did affect me, and it has affected me since that incident.

"And I'm not blaming that individual because they don't know the context of my inbox. They don't get the context of how MPs have to, you know, tolerate that level of abuse.

"They don't understand that if you're getting hundreds of abuse, if you're getting constant threats and then someone comes at you looking aggressive, then that can be really intimidating and scary for that MP."

She added that she defended people’s right to robustly debate and protest, but that a "minority" overstepped the line into abuse or intimidation.

She said: "Yes, I was scared and my family are scared for me."

Two MPs have been killed while serving in recent years -  Jo Cox and Sir David Amess.

Speaking after Mr Freer's decision to stand down, Rishi Sunak's spokesperson said that "no elected representative deserves to be abused or intimidated", calling such abuse an attack on British democracy.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle also said he was "saddened".

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme, he said: "We all get death threats, but Mike really has been targeted.

"Politicians want to do the right thing by their constituents, by the country, but we have others who all the time are trying to stop people carrying out the job they were elected to do. It is not acceptable," Sir Lindsay added.

"I will do whatever I can as Speaker, working with the security, working with the police, working with ministers, to ensure that members are safe, their families are safe, their offices safe.

"But that is the big challenge at the moment. It really is a threat."