Alex Tiffin, writer of the Universal Credit Sufferer blog, has reported prime minister Theresa May to the police after she blamed MPs for delaying Brexit in a statement.
He is justified in doing so. As he reports in his article, MPs are increasingly having to endure threats to their personal safety which require them to have security for basic functions like constituency surgeries.
And her outburst yesterday –
“You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side.” pic.twitter.com/znwrtDS9V9
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) March 20, 2019
– in which she said, “You’re tired of the infighting. You’re tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows. Tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit, when you have real concerns about your children’s schools, our national health service, knife crime. You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side. It is now time for MPs to decide,” provoked a strong response from those she had blamed.
Mr Tiffin quotes a tweet from Labour MP Wes Streeting:
I’ve thought long and hard before saying this, but @theresa_may knows that MPs across the House are subjected to death threats – some very credible. Her speech was incendiary and irresponsible. If any harm comes to any of us, she will have to accept her share of responsibility.
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) March 20, 2019
And he quotes Conservative MP Sam Gyimah, who said: “Resorting to the ‘blame game’ as the PM is doing is a low blow. Democracy loses when a PM who has set herself against the HoC then blames MPs for doing their job. Distracts from Art 50 extension, all part of her strategy to run down the clock and rule out other options. Toxic.”
Mr Tiffin himself wrote: “Given the state of politics in the UK just now Theresa may will be well aware that anything she says will carry consequences. Jo Cox MP was murdered by a far-right extremist because of her views. MPs are being accosted daily outside the Houses of Parliament and they face very credible death threats all the time and have had to increase their security.
“Had an ordinary citizen acted in this way, they would at the very least be investigated. She has blamed MPs for delaying Brexit. Such a delicate issue as this should, lead public figures to be careful of that they say. In this case, I can’t see how the Prime Minister thought this was wise.
“At the very least, there should be a full investigation of May’s actions last night and also a review of MPs security arrangements. Anything short of that will tell the public that holding a high office makes you immune from scrutiny under the law.”
We all know that holding high office makes people immune from the law.
You only have to look at the various paedophile scandals that have been swept under the carpet in the last 50 years – some of them by Theresa May – to know that is true.
And I doubt that any investigation would get very far, as it opens the door to investigations into statements by public figures that may have endangered other members of the public.
Wes Streeting himself joined in the condemnation when This Writer was accused of anti-Semitism, and I was certainly forced to endure a large amount of unwelcome – and wholly unwarranted – abuse during that time. Was he responsible? If I had been subjected to physical attack, would he have taken any responsibility for directing the attackers toward me?
What about Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman, whose unwise behaviour on Twitter caused a huge amount of unwanted and undue attention towards a young teenager?
The relevant law is section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986, under which it is an offence if a person uses “towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour … whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that [unlawful] violence will be provoked”.
We should all await with interest the response from the Metropolitan Police.