Hillary Clinton on Wednesday warned that the United Kingdom is “on the path to fascism” after dozens of female lawmakers withdrew from the upcoming British elections citing online threats and abuse.
The former US secretary of state told an audience at Kings College London that she took “very seriously” the news that more than 70 female MPs were choosing not to run in December’s election.
Last month, Conservative cabinet minister Nicky Morgan announced her resignation, and said she would not run in next month’s vote, noting that the online abuse she faced was taking a toll on her family.
Since then, other high-profile female MPs have quit the UK Parliament ahead of the election, including Amber Rudd, Claire Perry, Margot James and Dame Caroline Spelman.
“When I heard about all these people, particularly the women, who weren’t going to run again, and they attributed it to the threats they are going to face, that is not only a threat to individuals, that is a threat to democracies,” Clinton said
“If people are intimidated out of running for office in a democracy because of these hatemongers on the left or the right … that is the path [to] authoritarianism, that is the path [to] fascism.”
Clinton, who is visiting the UK promote her new book, “The Book of Gutsy Women,” also tore into Prime Minister Boris Johnson for failing to release a report on Russian influence in British politics before holding a national election next month.
In a BBC interview Tuesday, Clinton said it was “shameful” that the British government had not published a delayed parliamentary report into possible Russian interference in British politics ahead of December elections.
“I’m dumbfounded that this government won’t release the report … because every person who votes in this country deserves to see that report before your election happens,” Clinton said. “There is no doubt … that Russia in particular is determined to try to shape the politics of Western democracies, not to our benefit but to theirs.”
Johnson’s government has said it needs more time to review the security implications of the report before it is released. Critics, however, allege the report is being withheld until after the election because it is embarrassing to Johnson’s Conservative Party, which is trying to win a majority and push through Johnson’s Brexit plan to take Britain out of the European Union.
Agencies contributed to this report.