I have bomb proofing and panic alarms in my home, Mhairi Black reveals

The SNP MP said she had witnessed violence in the House of Commons.

Mhairi Black has revealed she has bomb protection and panic alarms in her home due to the threat of being an MP.

The SNP deputy Westminster leader announced her intention to stand down at the next election last week.

She described the UK Parliament as “outdated, sexist and toxic” in her announcement last week.

On Monday, she said her role in the House of Commons had prompted safety concerns among her family and friends.

“I see it when my parents come around to visit,” she told Lorraine Kelly on STV.

“They see the panic alarms in the house, they see the bomb bag over the letter box and it’s just a very stark reminder their daughter is a target for things.”

Mhairi Black spoke to Lorraine Kelly on Monday morning about her decisions to stand down as an MP.STV News

The 28-year-old said there were issues inside Westminster, including bullying and violence.

She said: “I’ve seen people crying. I’ve seen people in tears. I’ve seen folk getting manhandled and dragged into lobbies.

“I’ve seen punch-ups. I’ve seen all sorts.

“The thing that’s upsetting most is that within Westminster nobody actively condones it but equally most people accept that’s just the nature of parliament.

“And I think why?

“If this was any other workplace you’d be huckled out. The police would be talking to you.”

Black became the UK’s youngest MP since 1832 when she won the Paisley and Renfrewshire South seat at the 2015 election.

She is one of seven SNP MPs to have announced their intention to stand down.

The politician said she made her decision now to ensure her party meets its deadline to secure a new candidate ahead of the next general election – expected sometime next year.

But she said she had previously thought about stepping down.

“It was election night in 2019,” she said, “I remember coming home and saying to my wife, ‘I don’t think I want to do it’, presuming that I get a full term.

“But she rightly pointed out there are snap elections happening all over the place so maybe hang fire and keep it to yourself until you have to announce it.”

Mhairi Black said Nicola Sturgeo's resignations did not play a role in her stepping down.

She said neither Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation nor the issues facing the SNP were reasons behind her decision to stand down.

“This was happening regardless,” she said. “Westminster is such a toxic environment it’s unsustainable, at least for me, to spend my life there.”

She pointed to the voting system in the House of Commons, which she said was “archaic”.

She said a round of voting could often take hours because MPs cannot vote remotely.

She said: “Tomorrow we’ve got something like 15 votes, which is absolutely fine, but because of the archaic voting system where you walk through lobbies and corridors that adds up to about four hours where we’re doing nothing but walking through corridors.

“You’re queued up, everyone’s jam-packed into these lobbies, they put these doors at 45-degree angles and you go through one at a time.”

A House of Commons spokesperson said: “Bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct have absolutely no place in Parliament, and we take any complaint of unacceptable behaviour extremely seriously.

“We remain committed to ensuring that lasting cultural change can be achieved here, and our Behaviour Code makes clear the standards of behaviour expected of everyone in Parliament, whether MPs, MPs staff, members of the House of Lords or visitors.

“The Behaviour Code is supported by the Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme (ICGS).” 

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