Blackpool South MP Scott Benton has called the police twice in the last six months after feeling intimidated by threatening, aggressive behaviour in the town. Mr Benton shared these two incidents during a twenty-minute interview with GB News reporter Gloria DePiero, after he was asked whether he felt safe in his job following the killings of two other MPs. MP Benton, who is becoming a regular on GB News, recalled these two times he had to call the police for assistance.
The most recent was last Friday (4th March) when he was knocking on doors in the town. He and his team were followed by a man down the street. MP Benton said the man was shouting abuse while holding a placard. He said, ‘When we were speaking to people on the doorstep, he went up to members of the public to tell them: ‘Don’t trust this man! Don’t trust these people!’ It was extremely violent and aggressive – you couldn’t tell whether or not he had something going on in his life – but it clearly wasn’t a person who was at ease with himself, or indeed society.’ Mr Benton said he called on the police to have a word with this gentleman, as ‘he just was not leaving my team and me alone’.
He added, ‘We did feel threatened, he was extremely intimidating, and you can easily envisage a scenario where that situation would have moved on to become something very, very different’.
MP Benton said this was the second time in six months his team had needed to call the police while out canvassing. The first incident was in September last year and in response about five or six squad cars arrived within roughly 10 minutes to assist.
But he said the police took longer to get to him when he raised the alarm last Friday (4th March). MP Benton said last week it took about 20 minutes before two PCSO officers arrived. ‘A lot can happen in 20 minutes – for good or for bad – so that was a bit concerning. I do know from speaking to colleagues that other people have encountered this on the doorstep and at surgeries as well – it’s not just one story from one individual MP.’
Asked what should happen to people who threaten MPs, MP Benton said he was ‘never one for censorship’, but action was needed to tackle the use of anonymised accounts to ‘spread hatred, violence, and abuse’. He continued, ‘Especially following the tragic events concerning Jo and David – the Government have to make it clear that MPs need to be properly protected, and they need to be able to go about their jobs as public representatives, and sometimes say controversial and difficult things without being placed in a threatening position.’
MP Benton said a debate was needed in Parliament on the issue of MPs’ security, and where the responsibility lies for investing in their protection.
He said, ‘I think we do have to look at some elements of security again, and there’s going to be difficult questions and debates around the taxpayer and what’s reasonable to support that. But at the end of the day – what is the price of democracy? What is the price of protecting those who are in the public domain, and fighting for constituents’ rights? I think that’s something which will obviously move on and people have different thoughts on that, but we need to have a debate in Parliament on that issue.’
MP Benton’s Recent Interview ‘The Real Me’ is now on YouTube: