Pensioner ‘left living in fear’ after MP reported her to police for a criticising email

Church-going pensioner, Linda Banahan, 64 

A church-going pensioner was ‘left living in fear’ after her Tory MP reported her to police over a highly critical email.

Linda Banahan, 64, wrote to Antoinette Sandbach’s local Conservative association accusing her of treachery after she defied the Prime Minister by backing rebel amendments in the Commons over Brexit.

In an email, which she copied to Remainer Miss Sandbach, 49, the retired careers adviser warned that she could no longer vote for her because of her lack of loyalty to Theresa May and the party.

But Mrs Banahan, who volunteers on the chaplaincy team at a local hospital, said she was left suffering from anxiety and high blood pressure after Miss Sandbach sent a ‘heavy-handed’ response warning that she had passed the message to police.

Mrs Banahan last night accused Miss Sandbach of ‘seeking to shut down freedom of speech by reporting emails she does not like to the police’.

She told the Daily Mail: ‘Here I’ve got an MP who is bullying people when they contact her legitimately. She has threatened to have the police come round.

‘Isn’t it right, as their elected MP, Antoinette Sandbach should be ready to be held accountable for her voting behaviour without so easily taking offence and responding so heavy-handedly?

‘It’s obviously been playing on my mind. I was frightened that I might have the police knocking at the door.’

Mrs Banahan became frustrated after Miss Sandbach, who became an MP in 2015, was one of 11 Tory Brexit rebels in December who joined with Labour to pass an amendment giving Parliament the power to send the Prime Minister back to the negotiating table if MPs reject the final agreement.

In an email to her local Conservative association in Eddisbury, Cheshire, Mrs Banahan wrote: ‘Her disloyalty and untrustworthiness has destroyed any chance of my ever supporting the Eddisbury Conservatives whilst she remains in post.

Mrs Banahan last night accused Miss Antoinette Sandbach (pictured) of ‘seeking to shut down freedom of speech by reporting emails she does not like to the police’

Mrs Banahan last night accused Miss Antoinette Sandbach (pictured) of ‘seeking to shut down freedom of speech by reporting emails she does not like to the police’

‘In fact she has ensured I will do everything I can to make her treachery known. I will work hard to ensure her lack of loyalty to her party, Prime Minister, Government and voters is as widely known as possible to make sure people wishing to vote Conservative know she cannot be trusted.

‘I hope the Eddisbury Conservatives will seriously consider deselecting her for such a selfish and self-centred betrayal of the party and country.’ But Mrs Banahan, from Farndon, Cheshire, said she was ‘completely floored’ when she received a reply from Miss Sandbach a few days later, branding her email ‘abusive’.

The MP, most of whose constituents voted Leave, wrote: ‘Your email address has been added to my blocked email as there is a strict policy against abusive emails operated by this office and your email has also been reported to the police.

‘In future if you wish to contact me you will have to do so in writing.’ Mrs Banahan said: ‘I sent the email to the local party because I wanted them to know that I was someone who had come back to the Conservatives under Theresa May, but who could no longer vote for their MP because of what was happening.

‘I am of a generation where you have a lot of loyalty and this vote in the Commons was the final straw.

‘I copied Antoinette Sandbach into the email as a courtesy, because I will not say something without the person knowing.

‘She is a public servant and I am a constituent and I had grown up with MPs being able to accept what somebody else is saying and politely replying. So I was shocked when she said she was reporting the email to the police, that completely floored me and created anxiety.

‘It had stopped from just being a dispute over something and now I’m potentially on a list of people who is down as abusive. I was frightened that the police would turn up.’

Miss Sandbach last night did not respond to a request for comment. Cheshire Police said they were not investigating the email.