Man, 76, is arrested after Labour MP Chris Bryant received death threat on social media following killing of Sir David Amess
A pensioner has been arrested on suspicion of sending Labour MP Chris Bryant a death threat on the day after Sir David Amess was murdered in a suspected terror attack.
Mr Bryant, 59, whose constituency is Rhondda, was targeted after he posted on Twitter that people should consider being kinder in the wake of the tragedy.
The politician revealed he had been threatened later, adding: ‘You only have to look through some of the responses to this tweet to see the poison that is infecting British politics. And now I’ve had yet again another death threat.’
South Wales Police said a 76-year-old man from Pontycymer, near Bridgend, had been arrested on suspicion of malicious communications.
A spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘South Wales Police was called around 4.30pm on October 16 following reports of malicious communications being sent to a 59 year old man from Porth.
‘A 76 year old man from Pontycmer, Bridgend, has been arrested on suspicion of malicious communications.’
Labour MP Chris Bryant said he received a death threat on Saturday after he urged kindness
The death threat came a day after Sir David Amess MP was murdered in a suspected terror plot
Sir David, 69, was found critically injured in a surgery in this church and could not be saved
Mr Bryant, MP for Rhondda, said he had faced threats every year since becoming an MP.
He said: ‘Over the years I have had a lot of death threats. They happen about four to five times a year. People have been arrested, cautioned by the police and one has gone to jail for it.
‘The year before it was anti-vaxxers, the year before we had Brexit campaigners plastering the word ‘traitor’ all over my office.
‘There are many people putting themselves in harm’s way on behalf of the public every day but there can’t be many workplaces that have suffered two murders in five years.
People look at flowers left by the police cordon nearby the Belfairs Methodist Church
Candles are lit next to a portrait of David Amess during a vigil for him at St Michaels Church, in Leigh-on-Sea
Police officers erect a tent outside a house in north London, thought to be in relation to the death of Sir David
Dominic Raab says private security guards could be used to protect MPs at surgeries instead of police officers as he reveals he was targeted with death and acid attack threats
Dominic Raab today backed proposals for all MPs to have private security at their surgeries instead of police guards after the murder of Sir David Amess and revealed he has had three threats to ‘life and limb’ since 2019 including an acid attack.
The Deputy Prime Minister has said he wouldn’t want plain clothes officers outside his surgeries as it would have a ‘chilling effect’ – but wouldn’t criticise MPs who ask for it and also said he was ‘happy to look’ at whether politicians should wear stab vests.
Mr Raab also signalled he could support closing anonymous social media accounts to tackle online hatred and claimed that there is now the ‘constant vilification of MPs’ in the UK.
It came as Priti Patel said that police may be drafted in to guard MPs during surgeries and that airport-style scanners would also be considered in the wake of Sir David’s murder in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday lunchtime.
But Mr Raab rejected the idea of plainclothes police protecting him and said: ‘I would be more inclined to look at private security guards and there’s already more money for that’.
He told Sky News: ‘I probably wouldn’t choose to have them (plainclothes police) outside a surgery that I had. I would worry about the chilling effect, I’m not sure it’s necessary to have that.’
Mr Raab also revealed that has had three threats to ‘life and limb’ over the past two years – and said the most recent threat he has received was of an acid attack.
Asked about the possibility of MPs wearing stab-proof vests, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘I’m happy to look at any practical measures, but the reality is that people will threaten you with something else. The most recent threat I’ve had was someone threatening to throw acid over me.’
He said there was an ‘intervention’ in relation to the threat – but didn’t say what police had done.
‘I hope everyone dials down the nastiness in politics. It’s been six years of everyone calling each other traitor. That needs to end, we need to be nicer to each other.’
Police have been asked to review security for MPs after the killing of Mr Amess last Friday.
Police were called to the scene in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm on Friday, where they found the 69-year-old injured.
He was treated by paramedics but died at the scene.
A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder after officers arrived at the scene and a knife was recovered, Essex Police said.
Counter-terror police are leading on the investigation, which has held Ali Harbi Ali, 25, over the attack.
The British-born Muslim, who is of Somalian descent, had been referred to the Prevent programme over radicalisation fears by a concerned member of the community.
It is understood that the referral was not made by a member of the police or the security services.
It is not known whether it was a friend or relative, or someone from healthcare, education, social services or a religious group.
It resulted in Ali taking part in a course, which is believed to have been a ‘Channel’ mentoring scheme. Despite this intervention, which is thought to have taken place several years ago, MI5 was apparently not alerted and Ali was not investigated as a potential terror threat by police.
Priti Patel said a review of Prevent would examine whether it was ‘fit for purpose’.
‘It’s right that we review what works, what doesn’t work, what needs bolstering if there are any gaps, all of that, because Prevent isn’t just about policing,’ the Home Secretary said. ‘Prevent is about how multi-agency partners come together.’
Yesterday critics questioned whether experts missed opportunities to stop a suspect described by investigators as a ‘lone wolf’ extremist.
Sam Armstrong of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank said: ‘Questions must be asked about this case. Counter-extremism professionals seem to have lost sight of their duty which is to prevent terrorism.
‘There has been an under-referral of Islamist cases and an over-referral of extreme Right-wing cases and we are now seeing the deadly consequences. The Prevent review has been derailed by Left-wing groups trying to litigate every aspect of its work and yet a cold hard look at the number of cases in which Prevent has fallen short shows this is only the latest in a long line.’