An act of hatred stole a great man and friend from us this week. A gentle man, always kind and full of life, joy and wisdom. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write such kind messages and share memories of him with me.
Hatred has become too commonplace and accepted in our society. It only leads to division and harm. I have been deeply shocked and saddened since my election by how so many revel in being abusive, antagonistic or rude; who enjoy attacking others, and in hating those with other opinions or political views. People who genuinely enjoy pulling others down. I hope as your MP I've been able to rise above petty attacks and stoking tensions and divisions, staying focused on what I promised to deliver for us.
Abuse has infected public life, and is somehow now written off as part of the job. Even in our own communities I've received death threats from local people against my children, been shouted at in the streets, threatened in surgeries, and abuse comes in every day on email and social media.
This is not part of the rough and tumble. My three year old shouldn't be asking me why my friend was killed - how do you start to explain that he was killed for doing the same job I do? I couldn't. No one deserves to feel threatened in their job, and the truth is: because of the climate of hate, MPs rarely feel truly safe.
Everyone can hold themselves more accountable. Targeted abuse is not acceptable. And above all else, this goes for my wonderful team. Week after week I see my team treated in an appalling manner while working to help hundreds of people at a time. I will not provide support to anyone who is in any way abusive to my incredible team, nor those who revel in being rude. I've installed many security measures to my office, and had already had to stop allowing walk-ins to my office to protect them. This shouldn't be necessary, but it is, and I will look again at anything more I need to put in place to protect them.
Our police have been amazing locally, and I'm very grateful to them as ever - especially Joe.
I will not stop doing everything I can to serve all of our communities, and nor will I stop taking up every invitation I can to attend local events, taking every opportunity to meet amazing local organisations and spend time with our wonderful communities. Rutland and Melton is my home, and I will continue do everything I can to serve you all and fight tirelessly to deliver on my promises. I won't let hatred and division force me into hiding.
My father always said to me: "Never hate. Disagree, but never, ever hate." He was so very right, and we can all do so much better, because we have to.