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'Grave concern' as Holyrood survey shows members have feared for safety

Anita Gould

'Grave concern' as Holyrood survey shows members have feared for safety

A Labour MSP has lodged a motion noting "with grave concern" the findings of an exclusive Holyrood poll, which showed 70 per cent of members have feared for their safety since being elected.

The research, which was conducted between 4-9 February among 67 MSPs, also showed a third of respondents have received death threats while an elected member.

Female MSPs were considerably more likely to have receive a death threat (46 per cent of respondents) than their male colleagues (26 per cent).

The motion lodged by Marra called on parliament to note "with grave concern the findings published by Holyrood magazine that 70 per cent of members have felt concerned for their safety since being elected, rising to nearly nine out of 10 for women; further notes that almost half of female, and one-quarter of male, MSPs said that they had received a credible death threat and that almost one-third of women MSPs, and only women, said that they had received threats of sexual violence".

Two thirds of MSPs have had to contact police following a threat to them, their staff or their families (65 per cent of male MSPs and 75 per cent of females).

The motion says threats of violence against elected representatives are "anti-democratic", adding: "... these should be strongly and clearly condemned in all circumstances; considers that women remain under-represented in elected office; condemns specifically therefore the targeting of  women in elected office with threats of sexual violence as a means to deter them from full participation in public life, and stands in solidarity with all those who have received such threats."

The Scottish Parliament has stepped up its security arrangements over the course of this parliament, while work is underway to ensure newly elected MSPs in May are protected immediately.

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