South Shields MP forced to withdraw from Memory Walk event after threats

Emma Lewell-Buck.

Emma Lewell-Buck.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck was forced to pull out of a charity event after receiving threats.

The Labour politician was due to kick off proceedings at today’s Alzheimer’s Society South Shields Memory Walk at Bents Park but had no choice but to stay away from the event.

“I’m not going to avoid going out in public and attending events in my town because of it. I wanted to go along today, it wasn’t my decision.”

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck

She was supposed to start walkers off before joining them to pay tribute to her grandmother, Eleanor Lewell, who passed away in 2003, aged 85, after battling dementia.

Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “Someone said something to a dementia support worker about how they were going to ‘go down to Bents Park to have a talk with that Emma Lewell-Buck’.

“The charity deemed it to be of a threatening manner and the police spoke to the man who made the threats.

“They said they didn’t believe it to be a high risk but that they would have officers there as a precaution.

“I was still happy to go down but the Alzheimer’s Society thought it was better that I didn’t and asked me not to because of the number of people, and young children, that would be there.

“I’m very upset about it because it was personal to me and I was doing the walk in memory of my grandma. The charity said I could still do the walk, but they didn’t want me to start it off, so that made no sense to me.”

She added: “There seems to be this environment around MPs now that people want to threaten us on a regular basis.

“I was really proud that I was going to start the event and I’m devastated that I couldn’t.

“In my old job as a social worker getting threatened was something that happened on a weekly basis so I’m used to it and I won’t let it rule my life.

“I’m not going to avoid going out in public and attending events in my town because of it. I wanted to go along today, it wasn’t my decision.”

Ken Oxley, media officer for the Alzheimer’s Society in the North East and Cumbria, said: “There were rumours of a threat made in relation to Emma’s appearance. The threats were not made directly to Emma herself and when we were told about it, although we weren’t able to establish the precise facts surrounding the threats, we felt that the most appropriate course of action was for Emma not to attend.

“We’re extremely grateful for all the support she’s given the Alzheimer’s Society but on this occasion we didn’t feel it was appropriate for her to come down.”

Northumbria Police are said to have been notified of the threats but were unavailable for comment.

This isn’t the first time that Mrs Lewell-Buck has received threats – read more here.