Penny Mordaunt: MP received death threat during Tory leadership race - what have police said?

Penny Mordaunt was knocked out of the Tory leadership race, after making it to the top three, with Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss pipping the MP to the run-off ballot

Former Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt received a terrifying threat against her life while she campaigned to become the next Prime Minister.

According to Portmouth News, police have launched an investigation into a death threat against Ms Mordaunt and her family if she didn’t quit as an MP.

The message was sent to the Portsmouth North MP during the final days of her campaign to become leader of the Tory party.

Ms Mordaunt, who had been an early bookies favourite to win the contest, was knocked out of the race last week, with Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss progressing to the final run-off vote to decide the next leader and Prime Minister.

Penny Mordaunt.

What threats were made to Penny Mordaunt?

The Portmouth North MP is believed to have received the death threats in a letter delivered to her constituency office.

In the letter threats to “shoot her in the head” and “kill her family” were made.

It comes after a spotlight was shone on the saftely of politicians, with the recent murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess while holding a constituency surgery.

The death of Labour MP Jo Cox also raised questions over the safety of politicans, after she was killed while campaigning during the Brexit Referendum in 2016.

What have police said about the death threats?

Officers were called to the constituency office shortly after the letter was received on the afternoon of Friday 22 July.

A spokeman from Hampshire Constabulary said: “At 11.50am on July 22, we received a report of a letter containing threats to kill a Portsmouth woman and her family which was sent to her office in Lakeside, North Harbour.

“We attended and safeguarding measures were put in place to minimise the risk to the woman and her family, employees and the wider community.

“Our enquiries into this incident are ongoing and it has been referred to the Parliamentary Liaison Team.

“We take the safeguarding of our MPs incredibly seriously and there are robust systems in place to ensure they can carry out their job safely.”

What has Penny Mordaunt said about the death threats?

Some sources close to the MP have blamed the death threat on the negative environment which was created for Ms Mordaunt during her leadership bid.

The trade minister was targeted in the media for her views and previous work on gender identity policy, with the MP calling out a “number of smears” as she campaigned to be the next Prime Minister and Conservative leader.

Ms Mordaunt has commented on recieving the death threat, saying: “I’m very grateful to the police for their swift action.”

Additionally, Donna Jones, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, told Portsmouth News: “The threats both online and in person towards public figures are growing and getting worse.

“The death of Jo Cox and Sir David Amess reminds us that often these violent attacks are linked to people who are suffering with mental health issues.”

Ms Jones, who supported Ms Mordaunt’s leadership bid, added that the threats against her and her family’s lives are “ deeply worrying”.