The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, is being protected by security guards at the Labour party conference this week following abuse she has received over her role, according to reports.
Kuenssberg, who has previously been jeered by some Labour supporters, will be accompanied by a security team inside and outside the conference zone in Brighton, the reports said.
Kuenssberg has frequently been targeted with sexist abuse online and the BBC is understood to have given her access to a bodyguard during the general election campaign. The corporation did not comment on the reports of her protection at the Labour conference, telling the Sun on Sunday that it does “not comment on security issues”.
However, the Times carried a photo of Kuenssberg, the first woman to be the BBC’s political editor, with a man the paper identified as a former soldier who now worked as a security consultant for the BBC.
The abuse aimed at Kuenssberg has followed complaints that she is not neutral, and treats the Labour leader and his party unfairly. However, she has also been targeted by supporters of other parties.
At a Ukip press conference before June’s general election she was booed and barracked by party members when she asked a question of the then leader, Paul Nuttall.
The BBC’s chairman, David Clementi, said politicians and social media companies should clamp down on the increasingly “explicit and aggressive” abuse suffered by BBC journalists, saying women in particular were being targeted.
Speaking at the Royal Television Society convention in Cambridge, Clementi – who did not name any of the journalists concerned – said female journalists in particular faced abuse “on an almost daily basis”.