Rishi Sunak warns of ‘toxic’ culture in UK politics amid threats

Rishi Sunak warns of 'toxic' culture in UK politics amid threats

British prime minister Rishi Sunak has expressed concern over the recent decision by the House of Commons speaker to break with parliamentary procedure due to threats against lawmakers regarding their views on the Gaza conflict. Sunak believes that this sends a dangerous message that intimidation is effective. Parliament descended into chaos on Wednesday night as tensions flared over a vote on whether to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and the exact language to use.
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle explained that he deviated from the usual procedure due to “absolutely frightening” threats made against lawmakers.
The Conservative Party has taken action against one of its lawmakers, Lee Anderson, who refused to apologize for his statement claiming that the London mayor was under the control of Islamists. On the right-wing GB News channel, Anderson claimed “Islamists” had “got control” of Khan, who was the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital when first elected in London in 2016. Anderson has been suspended from the party. The incident occurred amidst pro-Palestinian protests outside Parliament, with messages projected onto the Elizabeth Tower, including the slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Critics interpret this as a call for the elimination of Israel.
Sunak took to X to voice his concerns, stating, “In parliament this week, a dangerous signal was sent that intimidation works. It is toxic for our society and our politics and is an affront to the liberties and values we hold dear here in Britain. Our democracy cannot and must not bend to the threat of violence and intimidation or fall into polarised camps who hate each other.”

Sunak highlighted an emerging trend of events that he believes should not be tolerated, such as legitimate protests being hijacked by extremists to promote terrorism, elected representatives facing verbal and physical threats, and anti-Semitic messages being projected onto the Parliament building. He stated, “The explosion in prejudice and anti-Semitism since the Hamas terrorist attacks on the 7th October are as unacceptable as they are un-British.”
The threats faced by lawmakers has become a serious concern, with reports indicating that some members of Parliament have been assigned taxpayer-funded bodyguards. This comes after Conservative lawmaker David Amess was tragically killed in 2021 by an individual seeking revenge for Amess’ support of air strikes on Syria.

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