Last week, a Westminster Hall debate took place on the subject of abuse endured by MPs. Testimony was given by MPs of different parties about their own personal experience.
The debate was attended by Tory minister and Whip, Guto Bebb. At the end of the week, he recorded a video telling his Facebook followers about his experiences of the week – including his experience at the debate.
Bebb introduces this section of his video by appearing to dismiss claims by “some people” that abuse is suffered by MPs of all parties:
While some people are trying to claim that this is something that happens to all candidates…
Bebb even goes on to talk about his frustration that, as a minister and government Whip, he was not able to speak up in support of his colleague Simon Hart. Hart, also a government Whip, started the debate with a speech in which he referred to such abuse as,
swastikas on election boards and offensive slogans and language on posters.
However, most people’s ‘take-away’ from the debate was the graphic, harrowing and brave account by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, in which she spoke unflinchingly of the hideous racist and misogynist abuse she receives every day.
Watch – but be prepared, as it’s not for the faint-hearted:
By Mr Bebb’s own video admission, he was present at this debate – and frustrated that he couldn’t speak up on behalf of his colleague – while testimony by Ms Abbott and other Labour MPs is either omitted or else bundled together as an attempt to spread the blame for something he claims all started in September 2015 with Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Mr Bebb’s parliamentary office and was told,
We won’t be commenting on that but try his constituency office, they organise his videos.
A constituency office spokeswoman was unable to provide a comment but suggested reading an article by Guido Fawkes about an alleged ‘filibuster’ by Labour MPs of a motion blaming the ‘hard-left’ for abuse of MPs.
As Ms Abbott’s testimony showed, abuse of MPs is anything but a ‘hard left’ phenomenon, so any filibustering of a motion trying to lay the blame there would be entirely justified.
But considering that recent filibusters include an attempt by Philip Davies MP to block a private member’s bill against violence against women, pointing at a filibuster of a partisan motion when asked about an MP’s comments is an interesting choice of tactic.
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