Scottish Lib Dem Says He Needed Therapy After Online Abuse

A prominent member of the UK’s Liberal Democrat party said he needed more than two years in therapy to deal with the abuse he endures leading the party in Scotland. Alex Cole-Hamilton openly addressed the difficulties of leadership during an interview before a speech to party members in Hamilton, Lanarkshire.

Mr. Cole-Hamilton told a reporter on a British political talk show that he entered therapy to deal with the stresses of an “intense job” but also to cope with the vitriol he receives online and “in the street.” He said political discourse has deteriorated in Scotland, and sometimes the abuse he bears is “very personal.” The Liberal Democrat leader for Scotland added that he was extremely grateful for his party’s support and their funding of his counseling services.

First Minister Humza Yousaf, leader of Scotland’s devolved government, has previously stated that he also seeks professional help to manage the pressures of political life. Mr. Yousaf recently resigned following a disagreement with Green Party lawmakers over climate change targets and openly stated that the resignation had a significant impact on his mental health, which he would address firstly by engaging in physical activity.

Public abuse of British politicians has been a high-profile issue in the UK since the murder of conservative Member of Parliament (MP) David Amiss in 2021. Mr. Amiss died in his office when a member of the public, angry at his support for Israel, stabbed him repeatedly. When protests broke out in London following the Hamas attack on Israel last October, MPs were granted extra security as they came under threat from pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

The cash increase for new protection measures came after police advised conservative MP Tobias Ellwood to stay away from his own home for his safety. At the same time, fellow conservative Mike Freer announced that he would not run for office at the next election because he no longer felt safe and would prioritize his family’s security.