image source, UK Parliament

A Labour MP who will miss her party's conference this week because of fears about her safety has told the BBC women in public life have to "constantly think about their security".

Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield pulled out of the event in Brighton, citing online threats from transgender activists.

She has often clashed with trans rights campaigners over her position on issues such as access to female-only spaces.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was "unacceptable" she felt unsafe.

The news Ms Duffield would not be attending the Labour Party conference was first reported by the Sunday Times.

She told the paper there had been Labour MPs who had needed security at conferences in the past and she "didn't want that sort of attention or to become the story".

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Duffield said she considered the security of women in public life to be a cross-party issue.

'Every MP should be safe'

Speaking on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show, Labour's Mr Khan said: "We must be able to have this conversation in a civilised way."

media captionSadiq Khan: "It's unacceptable that anybody feels unsafe going to Labour Party conference"

Labour MP Pat McFadden said he would be "appalled if Rosie thought she couldn't go to the Labour Party conference".

He told Sky News's Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme: "Difficult issues have to be able to be discussed in a way that doesn't result in – if someone says something that someone else disagrees with, them being placed completely beyond the pale and subject to terrible online abuse or threats or anything like that."

House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said too many people had been "targeted for their opinion or the office they hold".

In a statement, he added: "In order to protect democracy, we need to ensure those participating can do so without threats of intimidation."

Ms Duffield stood down from a frontbench role for Labour last year after admitting breaching lockdown rules.

She had met her partner for a five-hour walk when he was still living with his wife, the Mail on Sunday reported.