Barrister Sarah Sackman, who is standing as Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Finchley and Golders Green, has called for the introduction of a specific new offence “for threatening or harming a public figure”.
She made her calls for a new law offering protection similar to that offered to police and NHS workers in response to the decision of local MP Mike Freer to stand down from politics after he suffered continued threats and intimidation.
Sackman told the Evening Standard she was “shocked” at Freer’s announcement last week that he was being driven out of politics by death threats and an arson attack on his constituency office.
She said:”I haven’t experienced the level of threats that Mike described so powerfully in his letter. But there’s no doubt that we all experience abuse online and there’s the constant threat that that could escalate to something much worse.”
The 39 year-old added:“We should consider buffer zones around political offices and a specific offence for threatening or harming a public figure. We should hold social media giants that platform extremist content to account.”
Sackman said the offence would be similar to those legal protections offered to police and NHS workers and would cover all those elected to public office.
She told the newspaper”Politicians expect scrutiny, criticism and protest. We go into it with our eyes open. But violent threats and intimidation on any politician represent an attack on our democracy.”
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