Preet Kaur Gill, Britain’s first female Sikh Member of Parliament, claimed to have received a threat by email asking her to ‘watch your back’, following which she had to tighten her security.
The 50-year-old is the Opposition Labour MP for Birmingham, Edgbaston, and a frontbench politician as the shadow secretary of state for international development.
According to an interview with ‘GB News’ on Saturday, she said that she worried for her family’s safety as she went about her regular duties as an MP, holding ‘surgery’ meetings with her local constituents.
“It was very direct. It is a worry because I’m with my daughters in the constituency all the time. My family live there. It really puts into context the kind of job that you do,” she told the channel.
“This latest direct threat has worried me. As a woman, when you put yourself forward and you want to address injustices and you care about issues that affect your constituents, you’re then faced with people that think it’s OK to say this sort of stuff to you. I could not believe that this person used their place of work email to make that threat,” she said.
“Normally most people would probably use an alias, or try different ways of sort of creating a hate campaign. I’ve had huge amounts of hate campaigns created against me through WhatsApp groups too,” she added.
She revealed that she had informed West Midlands Police about the threat and uses a bodyguard for security.
“It’s something I discuss with my team. I worry not just about my safety but about theirs. I don’t want to restrict my surgeries, I don’t want to go to an appointment-based system, I want to be able to be open and be in my community and make sure that people feel that they can have that access to myself,” she noted.
Speaking of her ethnicity, the frontline politician said that being the first female Sikh MP in the UK Parliament can be “quite isolating” in terms of support.
“And so, sometimes I think that is really quite tough as a woman facing so much kind of hate and criticism when you are trying to do something good,” she added.
In December 2021, Gill came under fire on social media over a tweet she later deleted that referred to a “Hindu terrorist” behind the act of violence at Golden Temple in Amritsar.
(With inputs from AP)
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