MPs have shared their experiences of harassment, including threats against a newborn baby, having to install panic buttons in a home because of death threats and contending with accusations of being a traitor.

In a debate on intimidation in public life, MPs from across the political spectrum shared stories of abuse they face including Warrington North MP Helen Jones. 

The Labour MP said female MPs were the target of abuse 'quite often from within their own parties'.

She added: "I have put up with this for my 22 years in Parliament and I have never spoken about it until now.

"What has changed my mind is I now see some of my younger sisters going through the same thing.

"If someone like me who has been here for a long time does not call it out then who will?"

Veteran MP Harriet Harman, Mother of the House of Commons, warned that intimidation against politicians and others in public life is 'a fundamental attack on our democracy'.

She added: "There are actions that the Government needs to take, and obviously we know the Government is very concerned about this as well, but in a way it is an issue that is even more wide than that.

"It is an issue for all of the parties."

Shadow deputy Commons leader Cat Smith said her newborn baby was targeted on social media by someone who 'thought it was OK to wish that my baby would die'.

She added: "For me, I felt that was very shocking because I suppose I had got used to the idea that because I was standing for public office, because I was a member of this House, that it was almost part of the job and we expected it.

"But I didn't think that would extend to a newborn baby."

Conservative MP John Howell (Henley) said he had to have panic buttons installed at his family home after he received death threats.

He added: "I said no more to my family about this. I went away, forgot it and got on with my work.

"But at 2 o'clock in the morning, my house was having a panic alarm installed in it by the police and I was given a telephone number I could ring from my mobile or from my home address that would scramble the helicopter from the local base and set in train a response unit from the Thames Valley headquarters."

Labour MP Chris Bryant (Rhondda) said his constituency office was attacked at the weekend and the word 'traitor' was scrawled on it.

He added: "Being able to disagree openly and honestly and openly and fairly and allowing freedom of speech is an absolutely fundamental aspect of being an MP in a free democracy."

Conservative MP Simon Hart (Carmarthen West), who brought the debate before MPs, said things had got worse since the 2017 general election.

He added: "In the last 12 months alone reports of threats of this nature have doubled. The head of UK counter-terrorism policing said 152 crimes had been reported by MPs between January and April this year. That's a 90% increase on the same period last year."

Referring to an incident on Monday when a milkshake was thrown at Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, Mr Hart said he later saw a message online which read: "I would prefer acid, but milkshakes will do for now."

He added: "Now I am not here as an apologist for Nigel Farage, but he is as entitled as anybody to be out on a campaign trail.

"While he may easily be able to deal with milkshake attacks, it must be the height of irresponsibility, if not criminality, to bandy around suggestions like that as if it were some kind of funny joke."

Cabinet Office minister Kevin Foster condemned intimidation against those in public life.

He said: "Actually standing up and getting involved, wanting to be part of debate and be passionate about the issues you believe in, is not a provocation. It is actually what democracy is inherently about."