MP reveals he threatened to kidnap his wife during a torrent of abuse

An MP has told how thugs threatened to kidnap his wife in a campaign of abuse against him on social media.

Tory Ben Bradley said the threat was part of a steady stream of negativity aimed at MPs by social media users and that police also foiled a physical attack on him during his first surgery in his constituency.

Opening up about his experiences, Mr Bradley, MP for Mansfield, Notts, said: ‘Sometimes you say stupid things that get a lot of interest that you didn’t mean to say or you get yourself in trouble. But there’s this constant flow that I find, and there are days when you wonder, “Why am I bothering?”

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“I blocked someone this week on Facebook, not because they were particularly abusive, but just because it was a constant torrent of negativity about everything… so you get abuse for blocking people.”

Mr Bradley was speaking in an interview with presenter Gloria De Piero, in which he revealed police intervened to stop a physical attack on him five years ago.

Describing what happened, he said: “In my first surgery that I had in 2017, we had a guy who came over and waved at Mace and he had pepper spray. So yes, it was perfectly calm and then all of a sudden [he] just jumped up and started waving his spray can. He was arrested fairly quickly.

“You get a handful, five to ten people who are just yours all the time. Usually they have pretty serious mental health issues and are probably in every other agency around there as well.

Detailing the threats made against his wife, Mr Bradley, who paid tribute to the police response to the abuse he suffered, said: ‘They (the trolls) also threatened to kidnap my wife once, which was good. Social media is ridiculous but you never know how seriously you have to take these things because on the one hand it’s probably a kid praying for a keyboard warrior who’ll never make it but if you ignore it and something happens, you will never forgive yourself.

“Police met at his door and it turned out to be a teenager who burst into tears as soon as they walked through the door.

“People don’t understand the impact of their words today when it comes to Twitter in particular.”

Meanwhile, Mr Bradley said he backed Boris Johnson to lead the Tories in the next general election: “I mean who else is there? Nobody engages with people like he does, and for every email I get that says he’s awful and he should go get another one that says he’s brilliant, don’t get rid of never from him.

“Like a minute ago, politics is so divided, isn’t it? And so bitter in so many ways.

“So I think unless somebody presents a brilliant vision, you know a messianic vision of what they’re going to do, it’s better or different than he’s the best chance we have at my knowledge.

“And this program for areas like Mansfield, upgrading, stuff… that came from him.

“So if he leaves, there’s no guarantee that Jeremy Hunt would have the same focus on Mansfield.”

He also suggested he would be open to running for regional mayor in the future.

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