Angela Eagle MP has received death threats and had a brick thrown through her office window after launching a leadership challenge against Labour’s hard left leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The attacks, allegedly committed by supporters of Mr. Corbyn, have left her staff “frightened” and unable to answer phones due to the level of abuse. Security has been stepped up and the MP has been forced to cancel two meetings.
Mrs. Eagle’s Facebook page has been hijacked by abusive Corbyn supporters, and a message was left on the answer phone of her House of Commons office telephone calling her a “f*cking b*tch”.
Helen Osgood, a senior caseworker at Angela Eagle’s office, told the Liverpool Echo: “I’ve spoken to Angela and she’s also had threats and intimidation. She was supposed to go to a meeting in Luton today but the hotel managers had [received] threats all night so the meeting hasn’t been able to go ahead.”
“The level of abuse is disgraceful and we have asked the police to look into it,” local councillor Bernie Mooney added.
Last week 172 Labour MPs, more than three-quarters of the parliamentary party, voted for a motion of no confidence in Mr. Corbyn’s leadership.
“Moderate” candidate Mrs. Eagle, the MP for Wallasey, launched her leadership bid yesterday, claiming that “Jeremy Corbyn is unable to provide the leadership that this party needs”.
However, Mr. Corbyn won the leadership with a huge mandate from the party membership just ten months ago, and many of his supporters are furious about the challenge to his authority.
Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy: "All of us as a society must say no. This is not acceptable." pic.twitter.com/Q7EjdpmRma
— Lorna Hughes (@lorna_hughes) July 12, 2016
Merseyside police and crime commissioner Jane Kennedy slammed the attacks and said staff at Mrs. Eagle’s constituency office “are frightened”.
“It is an absolutely disgraceful situation that you cannot take part in a democracy without having this kind of threats, the violence of it, the vile nature of the abuse that is being given to Angela Eagle and to the other members of her staff and to those who support her is completely unacceptable in any day and age,” she said.
Adding: “I support Angela Eagle in what she is doing, but even if I didn’t this is not an acceptable way to conduct a democracy. We must allow the Labour party to go by its own rules and make its own decisions about who it has representing it for the future.”
— Matthew Daniel (@_MattDaniel) July 12, 2016
Mrs. Eagle’s own local constituency Labour party also appear to be against her challenging Mr. Corbyn. Just hours before she formally launched her leadership bid the Independent revealed that she faces the prospect of a no-confidence vote from the constituency party.
Mr. Corbyn has so few supportive MPs in Parliament he cannot even form a shadow cabinet, and has been unable to secure the backing of the 51 MPs needed to get on the ballot paper in a new leadership contest.
Labour’s National Executive Committee will rule later today on whether or not he will be included automatically because he is the incumbent.
Party membership has surged once again, to around 500,000, since the referendum. New members are thought to be largely supportive of Mr. Corbyn, and if he can make it onto the ballot it is likely he will be reelected.