Labour’s Luciana Berger slams party for withholding details of threat against her – as figures show bill for security at MPs’ homes and offices is 125 TIMES higher than four years ago
- Luciana Berger accused Labour of withholding details of threat against her
- Rebuke thought to relate to previously leaked party dossier of allegations
- Separately figures show security bill for MPs at home and office has hit £4.2m
Luciana Berger today condemned the Labour Party for witholding details of a threat against her.
The MP lashed out after being accused by left-wingers on Twitter of lying about needing police protection at the party’s conference.
Ms Berger, who has complained of anti-Semitic abuse, said Labour had not told her or the police about a ‘physical threat’.
The rebuke is thought to relate to a party dossier of abuse allegations that was leaked earlier this year.
It came as new figures laid bare the growing threat faced by MPs – with security costs hitting £4.23million last year.
The bill is around 125 times higher than just four years ago, when it was just £33,700.
Luciana Berger, who has complained of anti-Semitic abuse, was accompanied by police at Labour’s conference in Liverpool this autumn
The most dramatic rise came in 2016-17, after the murder of Labour’s Jo Cox near her constituency office.
In 2015-16 the spending was £170,000 – but by 2016-17 it had hit £2.6million.
It is understood well over half the 650 MPs have protections in place at their homes.
Chubb Fire and Security have been awarded a contract to supply a ‘standard’ package of protection.
The basic measures, thought to include locks and alarms, at their main homes, constituency homes and offices.
An ‘enhanced’ package can be accessed if police assess there is a heightened threat to individuals.
MPs and staff have also been issued with ‘lone worker’ devices which can be used to call the authorities in an emergency.
Posting on Twitter, Ms Berger said people were wrongly accusing her of lying about needing police protection at Labour’s conference in Liverpool.
New figures have laid bare the growing threat faced by MPs – with security costs hitting £4.23million last year
She wrote: ‘If my family and I could work, live and go about our business like everyone else we gladly would. That so many people are so keen to attack/deny/smear/obfuscate and I have to talk about my personal safety is indicative of a serious problem.’
This month the Metropolitan Police confirmed it was investigating a claim that someone had referred to Miss Berger online as a ‘Zionist Extremist’ who was ‘about (to) get a good kicking’.
The threat was reported to Labour but the party did not pass it on to the police, who only found out when handed a leaked dossier.
Miss Berger tweeted: ‘That the same people who are having a go have literally NOTHING to say that our party withheld (from me and the police) details of a physical threat against me is particularly galling.
‘I thought I joined a movement that believes in solidarity for all. Clearly not.’
One tweeter accused Ms Berger of ‘disgracefully smearing’ Mr Corbyn, claiming her police protection was a ‘lie, confirmed by Merseyside Police’
A spokesperson for the Labour Party said: ‘It was only two years ago that Jo Cox was murdered in the street.
‘We take any threat against any of our MPs extremely seriously and we’re grateful to the authorities for working with us to keep MPs safe.
‘Jeremy has stated that people who dish out antisemitic poison do not do it in his name, and that personal attacks, on social media or in person, are never acceptable.’
The Board of Deputies of British Jews tweeted: ‘Total solidarity with Luciana Berger. It shows the dire state of Labour’s anti-Semitism problem when the threats against one of its own MPs are treated as a conspiracy theory.’
The row erupted on Thursday night after business minister Claire Perry appeared on the BBC’s Question Time where she said that Miss Berger had required police protection at the Labour conference.
Miss Berger then faced new attacks on Twitter from those who tried to deny the fact she was accompanied by police – despite photographic evidence.
One tweeter accused her of ‘disgracefully smearing’ Mr Corbyn, claiming her police protection was a ‘lie, confirmed by Merseyside Police’.
The MP shared the police statement, pointing out it had only said she did not receive ‘armed’ protection. She wrote: ‘Read it closely. The police with me weren’t carrying guns. But they had tasers and batons.
‘I’m not posting a photo of them because there are plenty out there.
‘But they were with me for the entirety of conference, when I walked to the many events outside the secure zone.
‘That so many people are so keen to attack/deny/smear/obfuscate and I have to talk about my personal safety is indicative of a serious problem.’
Miss Berger said some people had shared ‘creepy’ photos of her without police protection but pointed out that this was only when she had been in the conference secure zone.