IS this what political debate in this country has come to?

MPs being intimidated and harassed as they attempt to enter the Houses of Parliament. Anna Soubry being branded a “Nazi” for speaking out in favour of a second Brexit referendum. The speaker of the House of Commons having to urge the Metropolitan Police to do more to ensure the safety of politicians in London.

The right to peaceful protest is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and must be protected – even if there is a certain irony to EU legislation being used to permit the actions of hardened Brexiteers.

However, whatever side of the Brexit debate you are on, it is impossible not to be repulsed by some of the scenes that have occurred in Westminster in the last few days. No one should have to accept obscenities being hurled in their face as they walk to work.

We might disagree with some of our MPs’ decisions, but they are employed as public servants to represent us. If we do not like them, we can vote them out. There is very little that is democratic about abusing them in the street.

Bullying and intimidation should not be part of the political process, and as the murder of Jo Cox in 2016 proved, it can be a relatively small leap from issuing threats to carrying through with them.

No one wants a repeat of what happened to Mrs Cox, and if that means police having to embark on a crackdown outside the Houses of Parliament, so be it.