LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Police investigating threats made against a British lawmaker have arrested a man in the latest case of alleged abuse targeted at politicians as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.
A 59-year-old was detained in prominent pro-European Labour opposition politician Yvette Cooper’s constituency in northern England on Friday over the alleged threats, police said.
“As a result of information received in relation to alleged threats against a serving MP, officers arrested a 59-year-old Leeds man in Castleford on Friday,” West Yorkshire Police said, adding that the man had been bailed. There were no details about the nature of the threat.
The BBC reported that it was Cooper herself who had been threatened. Police declined to name the victim, and her office was not immediately available for comment.
Cooper gave her name to a proposal that would have given more power to parliament - as opposed to government - in the Brexit process. It had provisions to delay Brexit by 9 months if no deal were agreed ahead of the current exit date of March 29. Lawmakers rejected the Cooper amendment in a vote a week ago.
Politicians have increasingly been targets of online and verbal abuse as Brexit approaches and emotions run high, with Prime Minister Theresa May yet to clinch a deal that is acceptable to both Brussels and British lawmakers.
A video of a group of men calling pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Anna Soubry a fascist and chanting “scum” as she walked near parliament in Westminster last month prompted calls for police to do more to protect politicians, and a man was later arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.
Cooper had also contacted police during the referendum campaign in 2016 after a Twitter user threatened to kill her children.
That came shortly after fellow Labour lawmaker Jo Cox, who represented a neighbouring constituency to Cooper, was killed in a frenzied street attack a week before the vote by a man obsessed with Nazis and extreme right-wing ideology. (Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)