A Conservative MP who voted in favour of the badger cull has been advised by police to step up security at her home after anti-badger cull activists posted her contact details online.
Pauline Latham, Tory MP for Mid Derbyshire, has been “singled out” by the Stop The Cull website, which posted her private address details and telephone number online.
Mrs Latham told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’m not killing badgers. I happen to be supporting the government for a trial cull. I’m not wanting to kill every badger in the country – as none of my colleagues are. We just voted for a trial cull .
“People tend to forget that there’s lots of cattle being slaughtered uneccesarily because they have TB.”
Mrs Latham said she did not understand why she had been singled out by activists.
“I don’t know why I’m top of the list – I just happen to be,” she said. “If people click on that website, they will see my name first. There are lots of other MPs there who have also gone to their local police for advice.”
Mrs Latham said she had receieved hundreds of letters and emails about the badger cull and answered all her emails.
“It’s not that I can’t be contacted; I think that I have a right to a private life as anybody else has and to a home where I can feel secure,” she added.
Derbyshire Police have not divulged what security advice they have given Mrs Latham, but they are taking the threats seriously.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which handles MPs’ expenses claims, is paying for security improvements at Mrs Latham’s home, which cost around £9,000. Mrs Latham has also been advised to consider taking out additional security measures at her constituency offices.
In September, DEFRA issued an injunction preventing websites hosted in the UK from publishing the personal details of government ministers, NFU staff and farmers involved in the cull.
But because the Stop the Cull website is hosted in Australia, the authorities here are powerless to prevent publication of the details.
A DEFRA spokeswoman said: “The IP address is in Australia where we do not have jurisdiction. We have done what we can for the UK, but this is a little beyond our ability to control.”
The website has also posted details of contact details of other MPs who voted in favour of the cull in a parliamentary vote on Wednesday (5 June), which the government won by a majority of 49 votes.