British lawmaker calling for vote on Brexit receives racist threats

A pro-EU Labour politician on Monday said he has contacted police over racist abuse and threats he received after calling for parliament to vote on Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

"Over the past 10 days I have received a barrage of abusive, racist and threatening messages," said David Lammy, a black member of parliament for Tottenham in north London.

London's Metropolitan Police said officers were investigating the reports.

"The police have asked me to report all of these incidents and I will continue to do so," Lammy said in a statement, adding that his staff had also been "abused whilst going about their work."

"I was born here and I am very proud to be British, but the outpouring of hatred, xenophobia and racism unleashed in the wake of the EU referendum is not the Britain that I know," he said.

Former lawyer Lammy, 43, was a strong supporter of the Remain campaign in last month's EU referendum. He has since lobbied for a vote in parliament before Britain invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which sets the rules for a nation leaving the EU.

Lammy's campaign was backed on Sunday by leading law firm Mishcon de Reya, which said it was representing a group of unnamed businesses.

"If the correct constitutional process of parliamentary scrutiny and approval is not followed then the notice to withdraw from the EU would be unlawful," Mischon de Reya said.

A failure to seek a vote in parliament would affect negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the EU and be "open to legal challenge," it said.

Amid political infighting, protests and an apparent rise in racism following the June 23 referendum, Lammy on Sunday urged people to "continue to fight for our democracy."

"Don't mourn the EU, organize," he said at a March for Europe in central London. "Lobby your members of parliament and say to them they must vote on whether we are going to press the Article 50 button. Tell them the Leave campaign was based on lies."

Last update: Mon, 04/07/2016 - 20:25
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