Police probe social media troll who threatened pro-war MP with knife emoji

British Labour Party member of parliament Neil Coyle speaks to the media outside his constituency office in London on December 4, 2015. © Justin Tallis
Labour MP Neil Coyle, who voted in favor of extended airstrikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) from Iraq into Syria in Wednesday’s parliamentary debate, was allegedly sent a threatening tweet featuring a knife emoji.

Coyle, a south London MP, reported the tweet to police. However, on Friday afternoon he received an email apology from a social media user who claimed to be behind the threat.

A number of Labour MPs claim to have been bullied or abused for their position on Syria airstrikes after their names appeared on a “traitor list” of pro-war MPs.

Others who aired concerns over online abuse include Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy. Activists were said to have gathered outside her home – a claim since debunked by police and Creasy herself.

The Facebook account which originally made the claim later disappeared.

I have no reason to think those who took part on Tuesday were not peaceful in their conduct,” Creasy said in a statement. She did however reveal she had received many “violent and abusive” messages as a result of her decision to vote for war.

The Labour Party hierarchy has condemned bullying by members, and there have been calls for Momentum - a grassroots group within the party which has been energized by Jeremy Corbyn’s ascendancy to the leadership - to disband.

The group itself released its own statement condemning online abuse.

Deputy Leader Tom Watson branded Momentum a “bit of a rabble” on Friday.

Earlier this week, former Labour Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said he supports the deselection of MPs who voted for war, a position supported by many in Momentum.