Four Muslim Labour MPs received “suspicious mail” at Westminster

Four Muslim Labour parliamentarians were sent suspicious packages over the last 72 hours including copies of a “Punish a Muslim” letter that urged Britons to commit violence against Muslims.

MP for Ealing Central and Acton, Rupa Huq, was the latest to receive the letter, copies of which are also understood to have been opened by staff for Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow and Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston.

A fourth package was sent to the MP for Manchester Gorton, Afzal Khan, but was not opened.

A member of Ms Huq’s team has been taken to hospital as a precaution after opening the letter, which the parliamentarian said contained a “sticky substance” that the police had described as “low-level noxious”.

On Monday, two people were taken to hospital as a precaution when a package leaking a suspicious liquid was sent to Mr Yasin’s office.

Police are investigating the “Punish a Muslim” letter, which has been distributed across the country and details a list of violent acts alongside numbers of points for performing them.

All four letters that were sent to the Labour MPs have been found in the Norman Shaw north building in Westminster, which houses MPs’ offices and is linked by a walkway to Portcullis House.

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A parliamentary spokesman confirmed four packages had been sent to the building since Monday and said police were investigating the latest package.

The spokesman said: “This is further to the two items investigated yesterday, both of which were found to be non-harmful.

“The police are investigating the content of the letters to identify any potential link.”

A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “Police were called at 9.49am on Tuesday 13 March to reports of a suspicious package at Norman Shaw Buildings, Victoria Embankment, Westminster. Specialist officers have been called and the package will be assessed.”

The spokesman said that there were no reported injuries and inquiries were continuing.

Three police officers and five paramedics attended after Mr Yasin’s staff reported the earlier package, and a man and a woman were taken to hospital as a precaution.

The Met police spokesman added: “The substance contained in it was deemed not to be hazardous to health.

“The incident, which was contained to one room, has been stood down.”

Downing Street said it was concerned by the reports of suspicious letters.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said: “The prime minister is clear there is no space for racism, intimidation or extremism in the country or in parliament, so of course the reports are concerning.

“The police are investigating this and it’s right we let them do so.”

Leader of the Labour Pary, Jeremy Corbyn MP, said:

“These disgusting hate-filled letters sent to Muslim fellow citizens and colleagues in Parliament are utterly contemptible.

“Labour is committed to tackling Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime, as well as all other forms of bigotry, racism and xenophobia.

“Those that seek to divide us will find that our country is united in mutual respect, proud of our diversity and ready to protect our shared future.

“Today we stand together with those facing this vile Islamophobia, to show them support, care and solidarity”.

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