I have a lot of time for Antoinette Sandbach, the Tory MP for Eddisbury.

I don’t particularly support her politics but I do admire any politician who puts the country and principles before narrow political ambition and it’s fair to say Antoinette has repeatedly done that when it comes to Brexit.

Maybe she could be described as a Remainer but it is true to say she has been somewhat at odds with the hard Brexit wing of the Conservative Party and at times against her own party in government, despite voting three times for the Theresa May’s ill-fated withdrawal agreement.

She found herself in the news recently when a retired police officer sent her threatening emails that left her fearing for her life, ostensibly because of her stance on Brexit.

Antoinette, 50, said that increasingly threatening contact from John Timbrell, 77, amounted to ‘stalking type behaviour’ and ‘changed her way of life’.

Giving evidence in the case against Timbrell at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court, she said she was worried about the ‘escalation’ of Timbrell's behaviour.

Timbrell, who contacted Ms Sandbach through the Conservative Party website, called the MP ‘evil’ and said that ‘the penalty is death’ for her supporting remaining in the EU.

Ms Sandbach said in court: "This is a man that said I deserved to die and should be exterminated for the way I was voting in Parliament.”

Timbrell was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months and he will be bound by the terms of a restraining order.

Should our MPs be faced with this level of harassment from a member of the public for sticking to their principles? Patently not and I am pleased justice has been served in this case.

But how much worse is it when the attacks come from your own side?

The politicshome.com website has reported that Tory whips are to launch an investigation into messages sent to Ms Sandbach by a male colleague branding her a ‘disgrace’.

The website reported: In a now deleted tweet, Ms Sandbach showed a screenshot of the two messages which she claimed were sent by a male colleague.

"You too are a disgrace", the message read. "Time you left the party I think."

Ms Sandbach said: "It's bad enough when you get it from complete strangers. Is it any wonder three female MPs left."

They say politics is a dirty business but who in this day and age would want to be a MP if this is the level of abuse you get.

I hope Antoinette stays strong. We need more strong-minded, independent thinkers in Parliament, not fewer.