AN MP who received death threats has said the level of abuse became so bad she considered standing down.

It comes after a Parliamentary watchdog revealed a startling level of abuse endured by Parliamentary candidates and proposed sweeping new measures to protect and support politicians.

Yesterday the Committee on Standards in Public life revealed more than a third of the 950 MPs and candidates surveyed had experienced inappropriate or intimidating behaviour during this summer’s general election campaign.

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield installed video security and panic alarms to protect herself and her employees.

She stopped posting live messages on social media which could be used to track her whereabouts, and her surgery meetings are not publicly announced in advance.

Her constituency office staff have on several occasions had to call the police when members of the public became abusive and threatening.

Ms Caulfield told The Argus the abuse had been so bad there were times she had considered stepping down as an MP.

She said: “When the snap election was called, I thought twice about standing again.

“I was happy as a nurse, it was a fantastic job, You had people angry and upset but it was never personal.

“Being an MP is a great job and a great honour, but you get to a point where you wonder if it’s worth it.

“But if I walked away, then the bullies would win.”

The committee’s recommendations included:

  • The Government should bring forward legislation to shift the liability of illegal content online towards social media companies.
  • Social media companies must ensure they are able to make decisions quickly and consistently regarding the taking down of intimidatory content online.
  • The Government should consult on the introduction of a new offence in electoral law of intimidating Parliamentary candidates and party campaigners.
  • The political parties must work together to develop a joint code of conduct on intimidatory behaviour during election campaigns by December 2018. The code should be jointly enforced by the political parties.
  • The National Police Chiefs Council should ensure that local police forces have sufficient training to enable them to effectively investigate offences committed through social media.