Burntwood councillor says death of MP should be a turning point over abuse of politicians

A Burntwood Labour councillor says the death of MP Jo Cox should be a turning point for politicians in the UK.

The killing of the Labour MP for Batley and Spen has sparked worldwide tributes.

Her widower says Mrs Cox, who was shot and stabbed in West Yorkshire, died because of her political beliefs.

Cllr Sue Woodward, the leader of the opposition Labour group at Lichfield District Council, said she hoped the tragedy would spark a change in the way politicians were perceived.

And she revealed an incident which had made her think twice about her personal safety.

Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

“A couple of years ago I was threatened directly,” she said. “I was supported by two very understanding and caring officers at the county council which resulted in all members being offered personal safety training.

“But because we believe in what we do and because we want to be visible and accessible in our communities we carry on in spite of it – even because of it – because we believe that we can build a better society and that the vast majority of people, whatever their political allegiance, are with us in this.

“I didn’t tell my family about any of this until the threat had gone away, but perhaps it’s time we should speak about it, stop taking it on the chin and expose it.”

Cllr Woodward added that the tone of conversations about councillors and MPs had become concerning.

She said: “All of us in politics have suffered the sorts of casual abuse that have become an easy and acceptable shorthand – ‘you’re in it for yourselves’, ‘you’re all the same’, ‘snouts in the trough’ – and I’ve had my share,” she said. “In fact, I’ve had my fill.

“Is this going to be a turning point in our public and political life? I really hope so.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.