Labour MP Margaret Hodge says she needed panic button for meetings after ‘worrying incidents'

Asia's Tech News Daily

Dame Margaret Hodge has said she stopped holding constituency surgeries several years ago after a series of concerning incidents.

The senior Labour figure has seen off a threat from the BNP in her East London constituency and grappled with anti-Semitism issues within Labour during the last 15 years.

She spoke out in the wake of the killing of Sir David Amess, who served as MP for Southend West until his death last Friday.

“When I did hold constituency surgeries, which I did for years and years, I had worrying incidents,” the high-profile Jewish MP told Sky News.

“I had to change the layout of the room, I had to get a panic button. All of those things we did to try and enhance our security. But we can’t totally protect ourselves.”

She added that her primary reason for ending the surgeries was not safety, but being able to reach more constituents than the regular few who would attend local meetings.

The 77-year-old also revealed she was warned not to wander Labour’s conference alone last month.

The MP for Barking said: “I think of Labour Party conference this year where I was advised, before I went, that I should not go unaccompanied.

“And that I should perhaps not use the front door as an entry to the conference centre. That was unthinkable, you know, ten years ago.”

At its worst, over a two-month period, a study found 90,000 mentions of Hodge’s name or Twitter handle, including retweets and shares, the majority of which were abusive.

Dame Margaret added online: “Discourse in our politics, as in our society, has become increasingly divided and toxic. As MPs, it is our duty to change that discourse for the better.”

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