A DEBATE between candidates to become the next Oxford West MP was called off at the last minute over 'security concerns' for one of the speakers taking part.

A hustings which was due to be held at St Margaret's Church last night was cancelled at short notice, because of what was variously described as a 'safety concern' or a 'threat' made against a candidate.

The Oxford Mail understands there were security concerns for Lib Dem candidate Layla Moran which led to the hustings being cancelled.

No-one was able to comment on the situation Ms Moran's behalf, because of the security concerns.

When the Oxford Mail approached each of the other candidates standing to become MP for the Oxford West and Abingdon seat, they were each able to confirm that they were not the person who had raised concerns for their safety.

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There are four candidates standing for the seat.

They are Layla Moran (Liberal Democrats), James Frederickson (Conservatives), Rosie Sourbut (Labour), and Allison Wild (Brexit Party).

An email from St Margaret's Church released yesterday morning confirmed the hustings which was due to take place there in the evening had been cancelled.

Chris Goodall, the organiser of the hustings, described the reason behind the meeting being cancelled as 'an affront to democracy'.

He said one of the candidates had raised concerns for their safety after a previous hustings.

The email sent out by the church said: "Due to threats being made against one of the candidates, the chairman has decided that the best course of action is to cancel this evening's hustings. We apologise for any inconvenience.

"Please pass the message on to anyone you know who may have planned to attend."

Thames Valley Police confirmed there had been reports of an incident at a hustings at the Blavatnik School of Government, in Woodstock Road, Oxford at 6.50pm on Wednesday.

A TVP spokesman said: "Following enquiries it has been established that no crime took place.

"Thames Valley Police is committed to preventing and detecting crime in order to enable the democratic process to take place unhindered and will continue to offer and provide security advice and briefings to candidates."

Labour candidate Rosie Sourbut said she was saddened to learn there were safety concerns about one of her fellow candidates.

Ms Sourbut said: "My thoughts are with the candidate, and I hope we can work towards a less divisive, and more tolerant, politics."

Brexit Party candidate Allison Wild said she had faced abuse online and heckling in person while campaigning for the seat.

Ms Wild said: "This is what I signed up for and I knew there was going to be unpleasantness because it [Brexit] is a divisive issue."

READ AGAIN about the candidates standing in Oxford West and Abingdon here

On Wednesday, the night of the Blavatnik School hustings where safety concerns were raised, Ms Moran tweeted: "Tackling intimidation is a cross party issue. The ability to disagree civilly is paramount to facilitating debate, and as candidates we have a responsibility to promote and defend the dignity of others, treating all with courtesy and respect. #MoreInCommon."

There has been an increasing national awareness about the safety of politicians over the last few years.

The BBC conducted a survey of serving members of parliament at the end of summer.

A total of 179 MPs responded to the survey, and a majority of 139 of those who replied said either they or their staff had faced abuse in the past year.

Several MPs have said they would not stand for the December 12 election because of the divisive political atmosphere on the ground in their constituencies.