Political discourse needs to be less rancorous say Chiswick’s MPs

Images above: Rupa Huq MP for Ealing Central & Acton; Ruth Cadbury MP for Brentford & Isleworth

Both Ruth Cadbury MP for Brentford & Isleworth and Rupa Huq MP for Ealing Central & Acton have paid tribute to Sir David Amess MP, stabbed to death at his constituency surgery on Friday.

He was ‘one of the nicest MPs in the house’ wrote Ruth on Twitter ‘and a true champion of Southend’.

While they agreed on some policies, such as animal welfare, and disagreed on others, such as Brexit, she told The Chiswick Calendar, “his behaviour was a model of respect and politeness and consideration”.

Rupa served on a parliamentary delegation to the Middle East that was led by him. “David Amess was always an exemplar of decency and courtesy” she said.

That is the point that they both want people to take away from the shocking murder of David Amess, that political discourse can be held with opposing views being aired, but it can and should be without rancour.

Image above: Rupa Huq with a copy of the ‘Punish a Muslim’ letter she posted on her Twitter account (Photo: Rupa Huq/Twitter)

‘My own Friday surgery … saw four local police officers turn up’ – Rupa Huq

Ruth is still holding her Friday surgeries pandemic style: appointment only, online, but Rupa has just gone back to holding them in person. When David Amess was attacked, four local officers turned up to her surgery, conscious no doubt that as a woman and an ethnic minority MP she ticks two of the boxes that make her most likely to be a target.

She already has to have her mail screened after a package was sent to her office in 2018 by an Islamophobe. Three Muslim MPs were targeted then with packages containing a ‘noxious liquid’. She said then: “It’s worrying that someone out there thinks it’s open season on Muslim MPs.

Ruth Cadbury has also had abusive and threatening letters and attacks online and she too has had moments where she’s been concerned about her safety. It’s now par for the course it seems. Since the murder of MP Jo Cox in 2016, MPs have opened up about the constant threats against them.

Tulip Siddiq MP for Hampstead and Kilburn told the BBC that being an MP has had a “constant effect” on her family since she was first elected in 2015. Abuse received online can “range from very trivial things”, such as comments on her appearance, to threats against her or her relatives, she said.

MP for Ashford Damian Green told the BBC he had to change his security arrangements after police discovered one of his constituents had an unlicensed gun. The man had sent him “a series of pretty vile emails”, which he hadn’t reported as they never contained a direct threat.

Image above: Ruth Cadbury speaking in Parliament

“The press has a responsibility to treat political discourse seriously” – Ruth Cadbury

The time has come for British politics to be less rancorous.

“The press have a responsibility to treat political discourse seriously, to treat politicians with more respect and call out abuse” says Ruth.

“We need to drain our politics of the bitter rancour: more being cross-party and less being cross” says Rupa.

In an article for the Guardian written in response to the attack on David Amess, she writes:

‘Lasting measures should occur to prevent this happening again. After two killings, (in her time as an MP) serious thinking and action is needed to drastically reduce the chances of there being a third’.

Read her article here: I don’t want a life hidden by security, but we need to prevent violence against MPs

Image above: Ruth Cadbury welcoming children from Spring Grove Primary School to Westminster

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Anthony Kemp jailed for life after admitting murder to Chiswick police

See also: ‘No further action’ after diplomatic row involving Rupa Huq MP

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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