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Angela Rayner target of 'multiple threatening and abusive messages'

Angela Rayner has received multiple abusive and threatening messages in the wake of the killing of Sir David Amess MP, it has emerged.

Greater Manchester Police announced that a 52-year-old man was arrested at an address in Halifax on Wednesday morning after Ms Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, received multiple threatening and abusive phone calls, emails and letters over recent weeks.

GMP said the man was arrested on suspicion of malicious communications and has since been released on bail pending further enquiries. His arrest relates to abusive phone calls received on Friday 15 October.

A spokesperson for Angela Rayner said: "Angela and her staff have received a number of threatening, malicious and abusive communications in recent weeks. We are working with the police to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice and Angela would like to thank the police for their work during these investigations.

"Abuse and threats of this nature don't just have an impact on Angela but also on her family, her children and her staff who are on the receiving end of these communications.

"Angela is currently on bereavement leave after losing a close loved one and she looks forward to being back at work as soon as possible." 

Detective Sergeant Christopher Dean of GMP's Tameside district said: "Abusive, threatening or bullying behaviour towards anyone is completely unacceptable and we will always do what we can to ensure those responsible are identified and held accountable for their behaviour.

"Although we have arrested one man our investigation remains very much ongoing and we will continue to pursue all available lines of enquiry to identify all those responsible."

The arrest comes two weeks after the murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death in a constituency meeting in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. 

In 2019, a 23-year-old man from the far-right group National Action was jailed for life for plotting to murder Ms Rayner’s colleague, Labour MP Rosie Cooper. Jack Renshaw, 23, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison after admitting to preparing an act of terrorism and wanting to "replicate" the murder of Jo Cox.

Ms Rayner, 37, the MP for Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, is a mother of three sons and married her trade unionist husband, Mark Rayner, in 2010, but they have since separated. 

In 2019, Ms Rayner, who is also a grandmother, revealed that she had installed panic buttons in her home after receiving rape and murder threats. 

The MP said: “It was only a couple of weeks ago someone claiming to be a Jeremy Corbyn supporter was arrested for making threats to rape and murder me on social media. My house has panic buttons fitted.”