TAUNTON Deane MP Rebecca Pow has spoken of how vulnerable she and her Westminster colleagues are to "a small but vulnerable section of society".

Ms Pow was reacting to the death of Yorkshire MP Jo Cox after she was shot and stabbed on Thursday (June 16).

She said: "Having become a public figure, I am conscious of how overwhelmingly vulnerable we are to a small, but undesirable section of society.

"We are targeted from every direction - e-mail, letter, in person, and particularly, social media where people can hide and never have to say the nasty things they say face to face.

"While the majority of society are well-mannered, I notice a growing lack of respect at some public events and in the street.

"As MPs, we are generally working for the common good, but some of our decisions are of necessity controversial.

"Both my staff and I are having to deal with this on a daily basis, with great help from the police in the background, who I applaud.

"There was a certain element visible in my EU debate on Monday night that was less than respectful in what was otherwise, I hope, a very beneficial event in informing the public.

"Some sectors of the press have played their part in fuelling this ‘anti-MP’ fire.

"We are ordinary people who have worked, had families, and who are working for the benefit of their constituents and I urge a more caring approach and perhaps a little more understanding of the role of an MP.

"I am so proud to be representing Taunton Deane, it is such an opportunity to really achieve something for the people here and I will continue unabashed with this role."

Ms Pow said she did not know Mrs Cox well, although the two were recently team members in a cross-party charity tug o' war.

"That’s when I realised what a sparkly, delightful person Jo was and, despite being on opposite political sides, how much we had in common," added Ms Pow.

"Both representing Parliament in our home areas, Jo was as passionate about Batley and Spen as I am about Taunton Deane and she was only working for the good of the people there and on a wider scale.

"Ironically, we also shared views about the challenges of being an MP and juggling it with family life. Her children are very much younger than mine, so it would have been tough for her, but she was throwing herself in with such enthusiasm, that I can only applaud her.

"It’s hard to find words to truly express this shocking and needless death of Jo.

"Such a bright, bubbly, talented politician and mum.

"I shall be praying for Jo and her family and will carry a little bit of her spirit with me as I go about my own work as an MP in the area I know and love and know that a little bit of her stardust will have rubbed off on the world. Bless her children, husband and family."