Labour MP Diane Abbott says death threats have increased since the murder of David Amess

Abbott said that the amount of death threats in her office has gotten 'worse since the murder of Sir David Amess'

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A senior MP has warned that levels of online abuse and threats have increased since the death of Sir David Amess.

Labour’s Diane Abbott said the situation was frightening and could deter young people – particularly women – from going into politics.

Her comments followed the death of Sir David, who was stabbed during a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15.

A Requiem Mass, attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, was held at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday morning.

Ms Abbott told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “Certainly in my office the death threats have got worse since the death of Sir David Amess, and that shows you cannot just ignore threats online.

Diane Abbott speaking during a Stand Up to Racism
Diane Abbott speaking during a Stand Up to Racism

“It is frightening and I think the level of abuse, including death threats, is putting off young people – particularly women – from going into public life.”

Responding to a suggestion that only a small minority of people would cross the line from online abuse to a physical threat, she said: “It only takes one person to actually follow through and your life is in danger.”

She said social media companies should keep a record of account holders’ names and addresses to stop anonymous abuse.

Ms Abbott claimed there was a link between online abuse and “irresponsible headlines” in “legacy media”.

“The abuse I receive, including the death threats, often echoes irresponsible headlines, and I think press regulation must accompany social media regulation,” she said.