Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said some protests targeting MPs over their stance on the war in Gaza had “crossed the line from protest to intimidation”.
Other MPs have already expressed concerns about their safety and the safety of staff ahead of a weekend in which more than 100 pro-Palestine events were planned across the UK as campaigners sought to put pressure on parliamentarians who failed to vote in favor of the SNP’s motion last week. Calling for a ceasefire.
Hundreds of people demonstrated in Keir Starmer’s constituency and protested outside his office in Camden on Saturday over the Labor leader’s failure to call a ceasefire. While others showed up outside the home of at least one lawmaker on Saturday.
Asked on Sky news‘ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips about protests outside MPs’ offices, Reeves said: “I believe in the right to protest, I don’t believe in the right to intimidate. I think some of those protests over the last few days have crossed the line from protest to Intimidation: I think protesting outside people’s homes and pressuring them in this way is completely unacceptable.
She condemned the protests outside MPs’ homes as “completely unacceptable” and urged those demanding a ceasefire to do so “in a responsible manner”.
A Metropolitan police spokesman said on Sunday that the force was aware that some MPs had expressed concerns about their safety and security.
They added: “We are clear that when any protest activity causes unreasonable disruption, devolves into criminal or disorderly conduct, or conduct that causes fear and intimidation, officers will intervene and take positive action – including making arrests.”
Several MPs called the police to help beef up security, while Women’s Parliamentary Labor Party leader Siobhain McDonagh said she had called a meeting on Tuesday to assess the extent of the threat and offer reassurance where possible.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign said MPs should expect to be held accountable for their statements or votes on matters that matter most to their constituents. A spokesman for the organization said: “Peaceful protest outside electoral district offices is a legitimate part of the democratic process.”
The protests follow a vote on Wednesday evening in which 56 Labor MPs, including 10 frontbenchers, defied party instructions to vote on a ceasefire. Starmer said calling for a ceasefire would not help, as Hamas has said it intends to continue attacking Israel.
Three Muslim shadow ministers who remain loyal to the party were the focus of much of the incitement, including Rushanara Ali, the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, whose office was picketed throughout Thursday.