Labour MP who voted for Syria airstrikes calls in police after Twitter death threat as Corbyn urges party members not to bully the 66 rebels on ‘traitor list’
- Hard-Left Left Unity urges its supporters to deselect rebel Labour MPs
- Jeremy Corbyn’s call for calm in party fails to work as abuse continues
- Leadership rival Hilary Benn called a murderer for siding with PM on Syria
- Stella Creasy and other female MPs targeted with pictures of dead children
- Calls for security review because of threats to MPs, their staff and families
- Victims say party leadership gave ‘permission’ for campaign of threats
- See more of the latest on Corbyn’s opposition to war on ISIS in Syria
A Labour MP has gone to the police after receiving a death threat on Twitter as Jeremy Corbyn wrote to every party member telling them not to abuse politicians who voted to bomb Syria.
Neil Coyle, 36, who is on a ‘traitor list’ of 66 MPs threatened with deselection by left-wingers, has called in the Met after a troll sent him a sinister message with pictures of knives.
Mr Coyle, who represents Bermondsey and Old Southwark in south London, told MailOnline: ‘I’ve gone to the police over this threat. I’m no traitor – I voted with my conscience just like Jeremy’.
Hilary Benn, whose stirring Commons speech inspired Labour MPs to back David Cameron last night, has also received death threats with one tweet warning him: ‘Hilary Benn will never walk the streets of Leeds unprotected again. #criminal #Tory’.
As a result Mr Corbyn will write to all party members asking them not to harass MPs, their staff or their families.
Police action: Bermondsey MP Neil Coyle has gone to the police after a troll sent him this threat of violence
Upset: Mr Coyle told MailOnline: ‘I’m no traitor’ and said he voted with his ‘conscience’ as Jeremy Corbyn wrote to party members warning them not to abuse MPs who backed Syria airstrikes
Extreme: Left-wingers have pledged to get rebels deselected with this message saying MP Stella Creasy is ‘worse than ISIS’
Left Unity, which supports Mr Corbyn but is not part of the Labour Party, has published a full list of those backing military action on Twitter under the heading ‘warmongers’, urging members: ‘Deselect them now’.
Left-winger Ken Livingstone said he would back the removal of pro-war MPs, telling LBC: ‘If I had an MP who had voted to bomb Syria then I would be prepared to support someone to challenge him’.
Party trolls are calling those who voted to bomb ISIS in Syria last night ‘Red Tories’, ‘baby killers’ and ‘mass murderers’ – and have focussed their abuse on young female MPs
Stella Creasy had 500 people march on her constituency office in Walthamstow ahead of the Syria vote and one troll told her today: ‘We’re going to deselect you. You’re worse than ISIS’.
Mr Corbyn last night said there was ‘no place’ for bullies in Labour but victims said today the campaign of abuse came with the blessing of ‘the top of the party’.
Shadow Commons leader Chris Bryant – who is also on the ‘traitor list’ – has called for a security review after MPs, staff and their families have been threatened.
He said: ‘Several MPs have had their offices barricaded, one MP had her house surrounded. Many had photos of dead babies pushed through their front door at home.
‘I gather today some MPs have received photos of severed heads – some have been called murderers, peaceniks, terrorist sympathisers’.
Neil Coyle, who received the online death threat, says another troll has told him he will need permanent security from now on.
He said: ‘I have received several threats to my safety and have flagged one to the police. It’s a first for me to be threatened with violence by people claiming to be pacifists’.
Traitor list: The hard-Left group Left Unity has published a list of ‘warmonger MPs’ who they want deselected by Labour after they voted for bombing in Syria
Defence: Left unity say that listing those who backed bombing is not bullying when compared to what they voted for
Contrast: Jeremy Corbyn has said there is ‘no place’ for bullying in Labour but trolls have continued to target his rivals, including Hilary Benn, who was branded a ‘murderer’ for backing further air strikes
Hilary Benn last night accused Jeremy Corbyn of abandoning Labour’s anti-fascist traditions yesterday as he made a passionate case for military action in Syria – and is now favourite to replace Mr Corbyn as leader.
Anger: Labour MP Stella Creasy revealed last night how she decided to vote for airstrikes in Syria – and was hit by widespread abuse
The trolls turned on Mr Benn last night calling him a ‘murderer’ and said his father Tony would be ‘ashamed’.
The SNP’s Alex Salmond faced calls to apologise this morning after claiming Tony Benn would be ‘birling in his grave’ after his son’s speech. Birling is a Scottish term for turning, often used in reference to trying to stay on a log as it spins in water.
As critics called on bullying Labour members to be thrown out of the party Mr Corbyn’s supporters ignored his call for calm.
Stella Creasy, the runner-up in the contest to be Labour’s deputy leader this year, had 500 people march on her constituency office and her home but still backed Hilary Benn’s call to fight the ISIS ‘fascists’.
Today she said: ‘For what it’s worth happy to clarify that I have no idea what route the protesters took and if past my house as wasn’t in Walthamstow that night’.
After she voted with the Government documentary maker Simon Mercer tweeted: ‘Enjoy sleeping when the first child dies. Maybe you can keep one of their limbs as a souvenir? At least Walthamstow’s safe now.’
She was one of several MPs sent pictures of dead and maimed Syrian children in the run-up to yesterday’s vote.
Photographer Kate Vice, whose Twitter biography says she likes ‘music and everything else beautiful’, told Miss Creasy this morning: ‘R u really boo-hooing over pics of dead babies? Previews of murders u have ordered. That’s true cowardice’.
She was forced to leave the Commons debate after critics continued to ‘hassle’ her staff by phone.
A Labour councillor in Walthamstow, east London, warned Miss Creasy she would be deselected if she voted for military action, but the MP said she would not be ‘bullied’.
She will hold a meeting with constituents on Sunday but socialist party member Nancy Taafe revealed today protesters will call for her to resign – and will help Labour get her deselected.
Miss Creasy’s fellow Labour MP Melanie Onn was sent a picture of a weeping woman surrounded by dead children, with the message: ‘Remember this when you vote.’
TAP – He’s hoping. That way the fatter profits will roll, and he’ll be able to smash Syria as a functioning country. Iraq. LIbya. Afghanistan. He just loves smashing countries to pieces. That way they can’t offer any resistance to the banker, totalitarian world government.
Rival: After Hilary Benn made an impassioned speech for bombing ISIS facists critics called him a murderer and claimed his late father Tony would be ashamed
Ann Coffey, who has been Stockport MP since 1992 and supported military action, received emails branding her a ‘warmonger’ and a ‘red Tory’ and warning she would face a deselection campaign.
She said that comments from senior party figures had given campaigners ‘permission’ to target MPs.
‘I think that some of the remarks made by my parliamentary colleagues have been very unfortunate,’ Ms Coffey said.
CORBYN ALLY FACES PROBE AFTER TELLING LABOUR MP: ‘F**K YOU’
A senior Labour MP is being investigated by the party after allegedly telling a party rival ‘f**k you’ because he is planning to back bombing ISIS in Syria.
Clive Lewis has been reported to the party’s chief whip after he swore at fellow Labour MP John Woodcock (pictured) during a row last night.
The pair are believed to have clashed in a Westminster corridor with Lewis, Mr Corbyn’s energy spokesman saying: ‘You want to start this, we’ll finish it, so f**k you’.
Mr Woodcock, who told the Commons his party was becoming ‘the vanguard for a sort of angry, intolerant pacifism’ tweeted afterwards he would not be ‘intimidated’ by colleagues.
It is understood that the MPs clashed after Mr Lewis appeared on the BBC and said pro-war MPs would be blamed if IS terrorists carried out reprisal attacks in Britain.
He said: ‘If there are members of the Parliamentary Labour Party that want to bomb in Syria and vote with the Tories, then on their heads be it’.
Now facing an internal investigation Mr Lewis said today: ‘I did indeed swear at him which in hindsight I regret. I’m more than happy to apologise to John, I’d like to think he’d be able to do the same back’.
‘For example, remarks made about blood on your hands, that you’ve got nowhere to hide, and I think that if you have that at the top of the party, what you have is permission to target MPs.’
Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, said Mr Corbyn was not ‘showing strong enough leadership’ over the abuse of pro-war MPs.
Mr Streeting – who voted against air strikes – told BBC Radio 4’s Today
programme: ‘I think it’s completely inconceivable for anyone to argue that there hasn’t been a well-organised, systematic, well-resourced attempt to bully Labour MPs into voting against air strikes in Syria.
‘Given how much of this has been facilitated by Momentum, the organisation set up in the wake of Jeremy’s leadership campaign, I don’t believe that Jeremy Corbyn as an individual somehow encourages the bullying of Labour MPs but I think at the moment he’s in danger of permitting it by not showing strong enough leadership, by not clamping down on this.’
A spokesman for Momentum, James Schneider, said the organisation ‘is not co-ordinating abuse in any way, shape or form’.
‘We are very clear, as Jeremy is very clear, that personal abuse has absolutely no place in politics’, he said.
Pro-war MP Mr Woodcock confronted Mr Corbyn’s ally Clive Lewis, after Mr Lewis said supporters of air strikes would have to take the blame if Islamic State terrorists carried out reprisals in Britain.
Mr Lewis claimed he was taken out of context. But when Mr Woodcock pointed out he had a transcript of his remarks, he replied: ‘You want to start this, so we will finish it – f*** you.’ Mr Lewis, who was last night facing the prospect of an internal inquiry over the affair, said he had been ‘harangued’ by his colleague, but said he regretted swearing at him.
Labour ex-minister Diana Johnson and fellow Labour MP Carolyn Harris received Facebook messages warning of deselection if they voted for air strikes.
The anonymous message added: ‘That is the least the Labour Party members will do to try to wash the blood from their hands of the innocent civilians which the bombs will surely kill.’
War veteran Dan Jarvis was also attacked after he spoke in favour of military action, with one pro-Corbyn internet troll saying: ‘Warmonger Mr Jarvis will obviously not be volunteering to go out there and fight himself – yellow!’ Pro-war Labour MP Jamie Reed was attacked on Twitter, with one user saying: ‘You are worse than Isis.’ Former home secretary Alan Johnson was called a ‘class traitor’ after he took a swipe at Mr Corbyn’s pledge for a ‘kinder, caring politics’.
Threat: Trolls were sending female Labour MPs pictures like this ahead of the vote on whether to bomb Syria and Stella Creasy has suffered particularly grim abuse
Abuse: This tweet claimed that MPs like Stella Creasy should not be upset by being sent pictures of dead babies
Ed Miliband suggested the worst offenders should be expelled from the party and said: ‘Attempts to demonise and target MPs over Syria … are intolerable and have no place in the Labour Party.’
Labour MP John Mann, another opponent of military action, said: ‘The level of abuse over the last four months is on a totally different scale from anything ever before.
‘It is directly linked to people purporting to support Jeremy. He should remove this intolerant minority … None of them have been disciplined yet, never mind expelled and he should start doing so’.
MPs have said that messages attacking them came from social media addresses that appeared to be linked to Momentum, the organisation set up by Corbyn supporters in the wake of his successful leadership campaign earlier this year.
But in a statement, Momentum said: ‘Momentum strongly disapproves of anyone who engages in abusive behaviour towards MPs or anyone else, and threatening or bullying, whether they are outside the Labour Party (as most are) or inside it. We specifically asked our supporters to emulate Jeremy Corbyn, and to keep their messages about the issues and to refrain from any personal attacks.
‘Momentum is not a threat to MPs who voted for bombing. We have made clear that we will not campaign for the deselection of any MP and will not permit any local Momentum groups to do so. The selection of candidates is entirely a matter for local party members and rightly so.’
The Socialist Party published the wording of a model resolution which they suggested Labour members could use to demand the removal of their constituency MP.
Socialist Party member Nancy Taaffe said: ‘It is absolutely crucial that Labour MPs or councillors who use their positions to vote for this war – not to mention the destruction of jobs and services through cuts – should be held democratically accountable via a reselection process.
‘MPs who refuse to carry out the wishes of the people they claim to represent and instead pass on, vote on and support Tory austerity and war can expect anger from constituents. We are calling for votes of no-confidence to be taken as well as lobbies of MP surgeries and constituency offices.’
Support: despite some abuse others have said that Hilary Benn is ready to take over from Jeremy Corbyn
While supporters used social media to hail Mr Benn as a ‘future PM in waiting’, he faced an onslaught of online trolls who claimed he had ‘betrayed’ the memory of his socialist father Tony and was ‘making a pitch for leader of the Labour party on the bones of the Syrian people’.
Allies of Mr Corbyn moved quickly to try to play down Mr Benn’s prospects.
In a damning critique of the speech, shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the BBC: ‘It reminded me of Tony Blair’s speech taking us into the Iraq War. I am always anxious that the greatest oratory can lead us into the greatest mistakes.
‘That is what it did in Iraq and I fear we made a mistake last night.’
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