76-Year-Old Arrested After UK Lawmaker Received Death Threat

By Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.
October 18, 2021 Updated: October 19, 2021

A man has been arrested after a British member of Parliament (MP) received a death threat on Saturday, one day after Conservative MP Sir David Amess was stabbed to death.

Chris Bryant, Labour Party MP for Rhondda, said he called the police as the “first message in [his] inbox was this death threat” after he was back from Qatar on Saturday.

South Wales Police said a 76-year-old man from Pontycymer, Bridgend County, had been arrested on suspicion of malicious communications.

A spokeswoman said the police were called around 4:30 p.m on Saturday following reports of malicious communications being sent to a 59-year-old man from Porth.

In an email to The Epoch Times on Tuesday, South Wales Police said the man has been released on police bail.

Bryant said MPs had been subjected to a “steady stream of horrific abuse” in recent years, and that the level of vitriol was higher than he had known it in 20 years in Parliament.

“Some of the political debates have been really vicious and sharp,” the Welsh MP told the PA news agency.

The former minister said he questioned “all the time” whether it was worth continuing as an MP but decided he can’t be stopped campaigning for things he’s passionate about, such as poverty, climate change, and human rights.

He also said he hopes that “everyone dials down the nastiness in politics.”

“It’s been six years of everyone calling each other traitor. That needs to end, we need to be nicer to each other,” he told Radio Wales Breakfast, alluding to the Brexit debate which often turned nasty.

Bryant said he believes women, black and ethnic minority, and gay MPs “get the brunt of” the abuse, but “everybody gets some of this.”

An image of David Amess
An image of murdered British Conservative lawmaker David Amess is displayed near the altar in St Peters Catholic Church before a vigil in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, on Oct. 15, 2021. (Alberto Pezzali/AP Photo)

The incident came after Sir David Amess, a 69-year-old Conservative MP for Southend West, was fatally stabbed on Oct. 15 while meeting local voters, an incident police declared to be terrorism.

The murder of Amess marked the second fatal attack on a sitting British lawmaker in their constituency in the last five years and the fourth attack against MPs since 2010.

Brendan Cox, the widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, told Times Radio on Monday that both the Left and the Right need to stop dehumanising each other.

“You have people who say ‘I’ve never kissed a Tory’ as a badge of honour on the Left,” he said.

He warned that this behaviour is a “celebration of political segregation.”

“It’s almost a celebration of political segregation. I think that is absolutely something that we have to challenge. And linked to that we have to stop dehumanising our opponents,” he said.

Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told BBC Breakfast that he had “three threats to life and limb over the last two years,” with the latest one being an acid attack.

He said those incidents “all resulted in an intervention,” but did not give further details.

Raab said politicians deserve “maximum scrutiny” but added traditional and social media have a role to play in reducing hate.

“I think there has also been quite widespread vilification of politicians in the media,” he added.

“The constant—sometimes surreptitious, sometimes ostentatious—vilification of politicians creates the kind of climate in which these episodes take place.”

PA contributed to this report.

Lily Zhou
Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.