‘I wear a stab proof jacket to meet voters’ says Conservative MP

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“I do face to face surgeries where I wear a stab jacket" - MP for Anglesey / Ynys Mon Virginia Crosbie.

A Conservative MP has revealed how she wears a stab proof jacket during surgery meetings – and says the threats directed at politicians are getting worse.

Virginia Crosbie also revealed how it is not unusual for her and parliament colleagues to receive abusive messages before breakfast.

The MP for Anglesey / Ynys Mon gave an interview early last year, saying she’d reported receiving around 30 threats, abusive emails, and social media posts to the police since being elected as an MP. 

Asked by Gloria De Piero on GB News if things had improved since then she said: “No. Absolutely not. If anything, it’s even worse. And it’s not just myself, it’s a lot of other particularly female MPs. Even before we’ve had breakfast many of us have received one or two threats.”

Speaking during an interview, which will be broadcast in full this Sunday, Ms Crosbie continued: “I think there’s an awful lot more that we can do in terms of social media and abuse. I think there needs to be more accountability. The reality is people can turn to social media with impunity. I believe Twitter accounts should be verified, and on Facebook there needs to be fines, and there needs to be fines on some of these social media companies for allowing this content. There needs to be much more control of the ability for the end user to control what they can actually see.”

Revealing how the danger often manifests into physical situations she continued: “I have been in difficult situations. I have surgeries, I do face to face surgeries where I wear a stab jacket, obviously following the murder of David Amess. And also, I have security protection as well. I think it’s important I have direct contact with my constituents. And unfortunately, this is one of the things I have to do to ensure that I can actually do the job that I was elected to do.”

Despite the risks, Ms Crosbie said she would still urge others to enter politics.

“I’d say please step up and get involved,” she said. “We need you. Being the Member of Parliament for Ynys Môn, is the best job in the world. It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked and the happiest I’ve ever been. It’s an opportunity to make a huge difference to somebody. We need more women. Around a third of MP’s are women and just over fifty percent of the electorate are women. So, we need women to step up and get involved so that the legislation, the laws we are passing reflect the whole of the electorate. And if they need help or support, just get in touch with me. I’d be delighted to help.”

Her comments formed part of a wide-ranging interview with GB News, in which she also spoke openly about two traumatic experiences in her life. 

Revealing how she once nearly died in a car crash before going to University she said: “I was in a car that rolled, I nearly died, and I really smashed up my face and I had around 10 years of surgery to put my face back together.

“It makes you feel very mortal. You understand what it’s like to nearly lose your life and it really makes you embrace life so much more and really want to make a difference. And when I wake up every morning, I genuinely want to make tomorrow a better day for as many people as possible.

“I had to wear a mask at night. I had to wear gel patches on my face. But during my maiden speech in the House of Commons, I stood up and thanked the plastic surgeon and his team that had supported me not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. He ensured that I went to university, and he gave me the courage to keep going. And unbeknownst to me, that amazing plastic surgeon, he and his wife have a cottage on Anglesey, so I had the privilege of actually going to meet him and his family. And together we helped raise money for his charity, which funds surgeons to go out to places like Bangladesh and to actually train other surgeons to treat cleft palates.”

Having overcome the crash, five years ago, Ms Crosbie had to deal with the suicide of her brother Simon, aged just 50.

“We were very, very close,” she said. “He knew everything I’d been through, and he also knew how far I’d come. So, we used to speak on a regular basis. He became ill and very depressed, and very suicidal. It was a really difficult time. He tried to take his life several times. He had a young family, and I was absolutely devastated when he succeeded. And I think one of the saddest moments I’ve ever had was trying to put a tie on his young kids for the funeral.” 

Revealing how she still sends him messages she added: “I do. I still text him. Whoever’s got his mobile number now must be wondering what’s going on. I still feel very close to him, I still go through the photos. We had so many shared experiences together.  I still feel incredibly close to him, and one of the things that I’ve done as the Member of Parliament is launch a campaign to get 100 people trained in mental health first aid. And I think particularly with my experiences and with the pandemic we can really see mental health is on the increase.”

Meanwhile Ms Crosbie said she had also opened up her home to the daughter of a Ukrainian MP.

“She’s a lovely, lovely young lady and she was really embraced by Anglesey,” she revealed.

 She worked in one of the local cafes and is now studying in London and hoping to go to university next year. She’s been a really positive influence on our family. And I think for us, it’s been a great opportunity to be able to help somebody who’s been in a very, very difficult situation.”

The full interview is broadcast on GB News this Sunday on Gloria Meets from 6pm. 

Source: GB News

Photo: Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence

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