LONDON - "Something horrible has happened to British politics," said Labor lawmaker Ruth Smeeth. The Jewish parliamentarian has had to turn her home and office into fortresses, and wherever she goes, she carries a panic alarm so help can be summoned quickly, if needed.
Like Labor's other Jewish MPs, the 40-year-old Smeeth, whose Staffordshire constituency is at the heart of a region famous as the home of the British pottery industry, says the threats against her and other Jewish MPs is only becoming worse. They are being bombarded by death threats, often via social media.
Mindful of the 2016 killing of Labor lawmaker Jo Cox, police have cautioned Smeeth not to go out alone, especially when campaigning in this month's highly toxic and bruising general election.
"For the past 18 months or so, I have not been allowed on public transport by myself," Smeeth told her local newspaper. "You won't ever see me at a public engagement by myself. … When I am knocking on doors, someone needs to be with me. Someone would have to meet me if I wanted to go for a walk."
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