Remain-supporting Tory MP Antoinette Sandbach has threatened to report non-constituents who email her to the police.
She has set up an email auto-response saying: “For the avoidance of doubt any further contact from non constituents, who have received this bounceback and are therefore aware that I can not deal with their query may be classed as harrasment may be reported to the police and other relevant authorities including the House of Commons authorities and the Member of Parliament for the non constituent.”
This comes shortly after Linda Banahan, 64, wrote to Antoinette Sandbach’s local Conservative association accusing her of treachery after she backed rebel amendments in the Commons over Brexit.
In the email, which she copied to Ms Sandbach, she warned that she could no longer vote for her because of her lack of loyalty to the party.
But Mrs Banahan, who volunteers on the chaplaincy team at a local hospital, said she was left suffering from anxiety and high blood pressure after Ms Sandbach sent a ‘heavy-handed’ response warning that she had passed the message to police.
Mrs Banahan accused Ms Sandbach of ‘seeking to shut down freedom of speech by reporting emails she does not like to the police’.
The text of the ‘abusive’ email is as folows: “Her disloyalty and untrustworthiness has destroyed any chance of my ever supporting the Eddisbury Conservatives whilst she remains in post.
“In fact she has ensured I will do everything I can to make her treachery known. I will work hard to ensure her lack of loyalty to her party, Prime Minister, Government and voters is as widely known as possible to make sure people wishing to vote Conservative know she cannot be trusted.
“I hope the Eddisbury Conservatives will seriously consider deselecting her for such a selfish and self-centred betrayal of the party and country.”
Ms Sandbach replied: “Your email address has been added to my blocked email as there is a strict policy against abusive emails operated by this office and your email has also been reported to the police. In future if you wish to contact me you will have to do so in writing.” Mrs Banahan has now said she lives in fear of a knock on her door from the police.
This is a shocking overreaction from someone who should be prepared to take such mild criticism as part of their job.
If she fails to support her party, then it is only reasonable that someone who voted for her on the assumption that she would follow the party manifesto on which she stood should let her know of their disappointment and disillusionment.
How can this constituent’s message be deemed abusive? Is she trying to bully Brexiteers into silence? Is the call by the plebs for democracy too stressful for her to face?