A Labour MP says a death threat has left him feeling “absolutely haunted”, telling the Commons: “My home is now a fortress.”
Barry Sheerman said his experience over the last 18 months has made him feel “frightened” to stand close to railway station platforms and caused him to “look behind me all the time”.
The Huddersfield MP said everything possible physically has been done to support him, although he suggested more help should be available on the mental health impact of such an experience.
Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt pledged to raise his concerns with the House authorities, adding: “We’ll see what more we can do to support members in this.”
Speaking at business questions, Mr Sheerman described himself as “pretty robust” and “quite resilient” before telling the Commons: “About 18 months ago I had a death threat from a gentleman who said he was coming to London to kill me.
“Over these last 18 months this has absolutely haunted me. My home is now a fortress, my office is well protected and everything physically has been done to support, but there’s very little support – or not enough support – when a member gets into this sort of situation.
“The gentleman that was coming to do nasty things to me was sectioned. But when he came out of the mental hospital, all I was told by the administration was he was ‘out and he knows where you live’.
“I have to say this has been 18 months, dreadful, personal, stressful time, and if it hadn’t been for my family and friends’ support I don’t think I would have got through it.
“But I have experienced it first-hand, to be frightened to stand close to the railway station platform or on the Tube, to look behind me all the time.
“My mental health – I’m a robust individual – has been very much put in stress, but this shouldn’t happen to members of this House.”
Mr Sheerman appealed to Ms Mordaunt to look at the support available to MPs, adding: “I think every member deserves better.”
Ms Mordaunt thanked Mr Sheerman for his comments and pointed to work done by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and the House authorities to support MPs.
She said: “He is absolutely right to get on record that this has a toll on an individual’s wellbeing and resilience and mental health.
“It is a terrible thing to have to endure and, of course, MPs endure these things not just about harm to themselves but also their families, children and their staff, and that is a very great weight to carry.”
Ms Mordaunt then offered assurances that she will look further into the issue with the House authorities.
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