THE Speaker of the House of Commons has condemned the president of Serbia’s “threat” against a Tory MP.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle said it was “totally unacceptable” to attempt to intimidate members of parliament as security concerns were raised.

Tory MP Anthony Mangnall, who represents Totnes and South Devon, had expressed alarm over a threatening response received by Alicia Kearns, the Conservative chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, from the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic.

Magnall said: “I was deeply alarmed to see that [Kearns] was threatened by the president of Serbia who said in response to her speech ‘We are already conducting an investigation against you, to see what you are doing, to see who is paying you and to see why you are putting the Republic of Serbia in such a position.”

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He asked the Speaker to reassure him the “full weight of Parliament will be used to prevent and dissuade bullying tactics and to ensure that MPs can speak the truth”.

He added: “Does the Speaker not also believe that this is a moment in which the Serbian ambassador should be called to explain this position and statement?”

Hoyle noted it is a “constitutional principle that MPs should be able to speak freely in proceedings of this House and threats to members doing their job is totally unacceptable”.

He further insisted Magnall’s comments are a “reminder to foreign states [that] they have no right to threaten anyone of this House”.

Kearns had claimed that emergency vehicles were being used to smuggle weapons from Serbia into Kosovo.

She told parliament on July 4: "The Government are well aware, with the Fusiliers having only just returned from serving in KFOR [the peacekeeping Kosovo Force], that there are weapons being smuggled across the border from Serbia into Orthodox churches in ambulances.

“When our troops become aware of that, and try to get permission to go and get them, the permissions take too long. By the time there is permission – quelle surprise – an ambulance has turned up at the church and taken all the weapons out again.”

Also at Westminster on Monday, Labour’s Andy McDonald claimed a solicitor used a social media post to say he should be “dragged through the streets of Teesside and lynched” if found to have wrongly raised concerns over the Teesworks scheme.

The Middlesbrough MP told the Commons the now-deleted post “deeply upset” him and his family, particularly following the murders of Jo Cox and David Amess (below).

The National:

McDonald previously used parliamentary privilege to allege “truly shocking, industrial-scale corruption” related to funding in Teesside, with Communities Secretary Michael Gove later ordering an independent probe.

McDonald said: “Last Friday, the Northern Echo’s front page and editorial lamented the apparent decision of Advanced Cables to build its new facility on the Tyne rather than the Tees, quoting Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, and the member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland [Simon Clarke], who both blamed me for the company so deciding without the single shred of evidence for such a ridiculous notion.

“Companies of course make their decisions on the basis of their own assessment and due diligence processes but such personal and unfounded attacks are not without consequences.

“Again, last week, a senior corporate lawyer Andrew Lindsay, posted on his LinkedIn account that if it turns out that the inquiry concludes there is nothing to be seen here and, in the meantime, some investment, and jobs are lost, local Labour MP Andy McDonald should be dragged through the streets of Teesside and lynched.”

He added: “This has deeply upset and alarmed my family and me.

“I have reported this matter appropriately but given the murders in recent years of Jo Cox, Sir David Amess, and Nigel Jones’ personal aide Andrew Pennington, and not forgetting the stabbing of [Labour MP Stephen Timms], I seek your guidance as to what can be done to ensure that the legitimate debate on such matters of significance to our constituents does not spill over in such a manner that makes the appalling comments of the likes of Mr Lindsay increasingly more likely, and what more this House can do to protect and support members on the receiving end of such abuse and reduce the likelihood of these dreadful outbursts, be it on social media or otherwise?”

Hoyle replied: “People are entitled to make their views known inside and outside this House but threats to members are very real, and those who comment should consider the potential effects of their words before posting rather than afterwards.”

He went on: “Let them rest assured we will defend the members of both sides of this House and nobody should be threatened in carrying out their duties. And certainly we will not forget those who were murdered, carrying out their duties.”

Asked about Mr McDonald’s comments in the Commons, York solicitor Lindsay told the PA news agency: “I did, in fact, delete my post when I was alerted to the fact that Mr McDonald had been upset by it and I subsequently wrote to him to confirm that the comments I made were not to be taken literally. Indeed, I do not condone any violence by anyone, on anyone.

“I also accept that the language I used was injudicious, which was why I apologised to Mr McDonald. Even though the words I used are not unique to me and might be somewhat familiar to certain others, I accepted, on reflection that we are living in times when we have to be increasingly careful about what we say.”