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Dawn Butler MP closes constituency office as threats against her and staff ‘drastically escalate’

PUBLISHED: 17:39 07 July 2020

Dawn Butler MP outside her office in Willesden High Road in 2015

Dawn Butler MP outside her office in Willesden High Road in 2015

Jonathan Goldberg

Dawn Butler MP has closed her constituency office in Willesden both for financial reasons and to keep her staff safe.

Dawn Butler's office constituency office window in High Road, Willesden, was damaged over the weekend. Picture Cllr Ketan ShethDawn Butler's office constituency office window in High Road, Willesden, was damaged over the weekend. Picture Cllr Ketan Sheth

The Brent Central MP said staff have been attacked and bricks thrown through the window at her small office in the High Road.

As reported in this paper a missile was thrown at the constituency office window between 4.45am and 7.15am on July 21 2018.

In a letter to constituents she said the threats to herself and her staff has “drastically escalated”.

“I continue to receive on an almost daily basis threats of violence and death threats,” she said.

Dawn Butler (red coat) outside her new campaign office in 2015Dawn Butler (red coat) outside her new campaign office in 2015

“My staff have been attacked in the office, verbally assaulted coming and going from work, bricks have been thrown through the windows and the frontage has been smashed,”

“I have had to work extensively with police and security staff to simply try and create a safe working environment for my employees.

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“Many of these incidents were not made public in order to not encourage copycat attacks.”

She added: “I will never be threatened into silence and will continue to speak out and speak up for all of my constituents in Brent Central.”

Citing finances as the primary reason for the closure she said the rent is “just about affordable” within the limitations of the authorised [parliamentary} budget.

Ms Butler opened the office in 2015 and as an MP, she is funded by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) which sets budgets, including for renting of office space.

She said the office was not big enough to accommodate staff during covid and “couldn’t allow for adequate social distancing” while there is still a pandemic.

She was also reluctant to ask for extra funding to pay the “increasingly unaffordable” rent and was not willing to do that.

“It seemed unreasonable to me to request additional funding for an office where my team are currently working from home, as per the instruction of the Speaker of the House of Commons, and in addition could not be reasonably made Covid-19 safe,” she added.

She said she hopes to resume face to face surgeries in Willesden Library, Brent Civic Centre and possibly in Harlesden Library in the future.


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