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Friday, Aug 19, 2022

Labour MP blames media after death threat over Ukraine statement

Labour MP blames media after death threat over Ukraine statement

Zarah Sultana was among MPs told to remove their names from a Stop the War statement this month
A Labour MP has said she has received a death threat as a result of “inaccurate” media reporting of her views on the war in Ukraine.

Zarah Sultana said she had contacted police after receiving a racially abusive email from someone who described her as “Putin’s whore”.

The Coventry South MP was one of 11 Labour backbenchers ordered by the party’s leadership to remove their names from a statement by the Stop the War campaign on the situation in Ukraine.

In the statement issued earlier this month, the group accused the British government of “aggressive posturing” and said Nato “should call a halt to its eastward expansion”.

Sultana said she believed the abuse she had received was directly linked to the way the issue had been reported in the media. She said it included quotes from an anonymous Labour source describing the MPs as a “mouthpiece for the Kremlin”.

“I am in no doubt that this horrific and absurd attack is the direct result of inaccurate media reports and deliberately misleading press comments,” she said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“The environment this has created is an active danger to the safety of public figures, and threatens to narrow our democracy. Like all my colleagues, I am horrified at the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I stand with the people of Ukraine and have unequivocally condemned Putin’s actions.”

The signatories to the Stop The War statement included fellow leftwingers Diane Abbott and John McDonnell, as well as the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who now sits as an independent after having the whip withdrawn.

Since succeeding Corbyn as leader, Keir Starmer has been keen to stress his support for Nato, in contrast to Corbyn who has been deeply critical of the alliance.

Sultana said she had contacted the Labour party chair, Anneliese Dodds, to emphasise the seriousness of party sources disseminating “dangerous and irresponsible messages”.

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