Luciana Berger hits back after new online attacks over police protection

Luciana Berger hits back after new online attacks over police protection

Liverpool Wavertree MP took to Twitter to clarify she did have police escort at party conference, following remarks made by MP Claire Perry on Question Time

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Luciana Berger
Luciana Berger

A furious Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, has hit back on social media after a wave of renewed attacks about the police protection she received during the party conference in September.

The new row was sparked by comments made on BBC’s Question Time programme on Thursday evening, between Labour’s Barry Gardiner and the Conservative MP Claire Perry, during which Ms Perry called Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn an antisemite.

In the wake of the programme, Ms Berger said she had seen “hundreds of people, including one MP, denying I had had police with me at the party conference, saying it was a smear”.

Ms Berger posted a statement from Merseyside Police, advising people on Twitter to “read it closely… the clue is in the word ‘armed’”. The statement, made by the police during the conference, said that the force had not provided Ms Berger “with armed protection officers”, but went on to make it clear that as part of their continual assessment of risk, they had given “some additional support to a number of people during the conference”.

Ms Berger, who has received serious antisemitic abuse for several years — leading to prison sentences for three of her abusers — added: “The police with me weren’t carrying guns. But they had tasers and batons”. She said that those individuals and blogs which had posted pictures of her — “some of them creepy” — without police at various events inside the conference zone, was precisely because it was a secure zone, “where everyone had been vetted and where there were plenty of uniformed and plain clothes police”.

The MP said she and her family would like nothing better than to be able to live and work “like everyone else. [But] that so many people are so keen to attack/deny/smear/obfuscate, and that I have to talk about my personal safety, is indicative of a serious problem”.

And in an angry postscript, Ms Berger noted: “That the same people who are having a go, have literally NOTHING to say that our party withheld (from both me and the police), details of a physical threat made against me, is particularly galling. I thought I joined a movement that believes in solidarity for all. Clearly not”.

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