OVER the past three years, my inbox has quite understandably been filled with correspondence from constituents outlining their views on Brexit. The past two weeks have taken this to a new level and I have received an unprecedented number of emails from all sides of the debate – last Friday I sent out 400 emails in just one day!

I continue to support the Withdrawal Agreement. However, leaving aside the substance of the issue for a moment, I have become increasingly concerned about the tone of the debate. Hostility and vitriol now regularly bubble to the surface. On one side, people looking to revoke Article 50 and stop Brexit unfairly accuse Leave voters of being intellectually deficient and hell-bent on destroying the economy. While on the other, those looking for a no-deal outcome describe their fellow citizens as anti-democratic traitors.

For those still sceptical that such a situation exists, here are two (anonymised) excerpts from emails I have received in the last seven days from constituents. The first is from someone wanting me to support revoking Article 50 and stop us leaving the European Union: “I have two degrees…have managed billion-pound contracts, worked across Europe on large collaborative projects …. And my vote counts for no more than Tony the taxi driver who mouths off regularly about immigrants with foul mouthed invective against the EU, the French, the Germans, and especially Nicola Sturgeon.”

The second is from a constituent who wants us to leave the EU immediately without a deal: “Salisbury DEMOCRATICALLY VOTED TO LEAVE John...YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS...and to the British people as a whole...we voted you implement it...I AM DISGUSTED WITH YOU AND YOUR FELLOW TRAITORS...we pay your salary so you work for us...and you are directed by us...you do not know better than us.”

To rebuild our democratic political culture after Brexit, we are all going to need to try harder to treat our opponents with more respect. Those who we disagree with are not inherently stupid or racist. People who take an opposing view are not guilty of treason. We are all – including me – trying to do what we consider to be in the national interest. I am sure that our political debates at Westminster and across the country would be improved if everyone remembered that.