Council leader reveals election campaign death threats

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council leader Claire Young has revealed that she has received death threats during election campaigns.

The Frampton Cotterell ward Liberal Democrat councillor (above) made the revelation during a discussion on the safety of politicians.

Cllr Young has been the leader of South Gloucestershire Council since May last year, when a Lib Dem/Labour coalition replaced the previous Conservative administration following the local elections, and will also stand for Parliament at the next general election, having been selected as her party’s candidate for the Thornbury & Yate constituency.

Last week the government announced that £31 million will be spent on extra security for MPs. Speaking to John Darvall on BBC Radio Bristol, Cllr Young spoke about the rising safety threats faced by politicians.

She said: “I have experienced threats in previous elections.

“It’s sadly something that you do face, but I would say on the whole I haven’t let them put me off. I happily get out there, I’m out there every week meeting people.

“There are some people, who will pick up on whatever issue, who are predisposed to behaving in this way.

‘We can’t let that stop us from taking part in democracy’

“Most people, however passionately they feel about something, are not going to do things like sending death threats. The vast majority of people don’t do things like that.

“People who make threats generally don’t follow through on them.

“We can’t let that stop us from taking part in democracy.

“We have to have people to represent us, I think I’ve got something to offer the people of Thornbury & Yate, and I’ve been working hard at the moment for the people of South Gloucestershire.”

Cllr Young confirmed that if she wins the Thornbury & Yate seat in the coming general election, she will stand down from her role as council leader.

She said: “I would let somebody else take over, because I think it’s important to focus on the job and not try to do too much. The amount of time I’m putting in at the moment in this job, I think it would be unfair to residents.”

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service