Wolverhampton MP fears for safety of staff and family after torrent of abuse, threats and harassment
A Wolverhampton MP says he fears for the lives of his family and staff after being targeted in a string of threats and violent incidents that included a masked gang gathering outside his office.
Stuart Anderson said police have now investigated 19 incidents against him including threats of violence, vandalism, intimidation and harassment.
They include a gang in ski masks gathering outside his office intimidating petrified staff, threats against his wife and children and confrontations in the street. His city centre office has been attacked on 10 separate occasions.
Three people have been convicted – including one man last week who was found guilty of threatening to blow up his office – while another one is on the run from the police.
Mr Anderson, Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West and a Government whip, said the situation is so bad his family have moved house and no longer socialise in the constituency.
The former soldier told the Express & Star: "This is sustained violence and intimidation which has had a devastating impact on all of us.
"In the army you might be in a conflict zone for six months and then you extract out. Here it is continuous.
"The attacks have really become a regular thing. It has put everybody on edge and we're living in fear.
"It's been scary for everyone. It can be over something I've voted for, or they may be anti-vaxxers, or just not like me.
"Often it is people who I have never met or spoken to before. They just turn up and want to have a go. It wears you down.
"As a family we've had to move house because of the threats we've faced and now spend our social time outside the constituency. We couldn't even go to church because of the abuse.
"I don't mind people disagreeing with my politics but there's a way to do it and it is not through violence and intimidation."
The incidents include threats to kill him. His wife and children have also been threatened and he has been harassed and confronted in the street.
In a string of vandal attacks on his office, windows have been smashed and its front has been plastered with anti-Tory graffiti and anti-vax posters.
Last week, Dr Abdul Alam, of Hilton Road, Wolverhampton, was found guilty of an offence of malicious communications after threatening to blow up the MP's office.
As a result of the threats the family has moved house and office staff have been left scared to go to work. They have been under police protection and extra CCTV has been installed.
Mr Anderson said they now never socialise in the city and that his family had asked him to stand down as an MP there as they can no longer take the abuse.
Four cases have gone to court. One saw a man who "hated politicians" given a suspended sentence and a fine after threatening staff and causing criminal damage to the office.
In December 2021 another court case saw a defendant given a restraining order after waging a campaign of abuse against Mr Anderson.
Another incident in October 2020 saw a gang of around 15 masked men gather outside the office intimidating people. The following month a threat against Mr Anderson's children's lives was left on the office answer machine, forcing him to take them out of school for a week.
Other incidents have included malicious emails, threatening phone calls, abuse being shouted through the office intercom and his wife being verbally abused on the playground when picking up her children from school.
One man is currently wanted by police after failing to turn up to court.
Mr Anderson moved to the city before he was elected as MP for Wolverhampton South West in 2019. He was previously a councillor in Herefordshire.
He said there had been "certain trigger points" when abuse against him had got worse, such as the controversy over the free school meals vote in October 2020.
He said despite the abuse he had faced he was determined to continue to represent the constituency.
"I have never been an MP who has gone out to criticise the opposition," he said. "I always try to get on with the day job and will always do my best for the people of Wolverhampton South West.
"Unfortunately now there is a culture where if you see an MP or even their family, it is seen as acceptable to go up to them and have a go at them.
"We saw what happened with Jo Cox and Sir David Amess [sitting MPs who were murdered]. Tragically they won't be the last."