A Conservative MP and a Remainer Anna Soubry was confronted by a group of people on her way to work, who called her a "fascist." She was also called a liar and a Nazi — during live TV interviews that took place outside the Parliament.
— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) January 7, 2019
— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) January 7, 2019
Led by Labour MP Stephen Doughty, more than 50 members of the parliament signed a letter to Met Police chief Ms. Dick, accusing the protesters of "intimidatory and potentially criminal acts" against MPs.
— Stephen Doughty MP / AS (@SDoughtyMP) January 7, 2019
The Met Police has in response issued a statement on Tuesday, saying that officers on duty near Parliament have been "briefed to intervene appropriately where they hear or see breaches of the law."
"An ongoing policing operation at the Parliamentary estate around Brexit continues and we have an appropriate policing plan in place. Our role is to facilitate peaceful protest and balance the needs and rights of all those present, including protestors, MPs and members of the public. We will deal robustly with incidents of harassment and abuse against anyone where that harassment or abuse constitutes a criminal offence. Officers in the area have been briefed to intervene appropriately where they hear or see breaches of the law," the statement said.
Many officials expressed their solidarity with Anna Soubry and called for better security for both politicians and journalists dealing and reporting on the ongoing Brexit debate
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) January 8, 2019
— Mary Creagh (@MaryCreaghMP) January 8, 2019
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) January 8, 2019
— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) January 8, 2019
The matter of security and violence against MPs rose to prominence in Britain in the recent years, following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, who was shot dead by an assailant on June 16, 2016. The prosecutor said at the time, Cox's murder was premeditated and "for a political and/or ideological cause," adding the killer — Thomas Mair, 53 — repeatedly said "Britain first" before the attack.
A flood of criticism was unleashed on the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay who suggested that the divisive time in British politics — the apparent harassment of Soubry — was a reason to back the Prime Minister's Brexit deal.
"It is clear that this has been a very divisive time in our politics. The issue of Brexit does provoke very strong emotions on both sides, and this is one of the reasons why I do think it is now time to come together in the national interest to get behind the prime minister's deal," Barclay said.
— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) January 8, 2019
— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) January 8, 2019
— Molly Scott Cato MEP (@MollyMEP) January 8, 2019
The issue of Britain leaving the European Union has been generated heated debates both outside and within the walls of Westminster. Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to find ways to get MPs to back her unpopular Brexit withdrawal agreement.
The House of Commons will hold a vote on the deal on 15 January 2019. Britain's departure from the bloc is scheduled for 29 March.