The co-founder of the West Midlands Together campaign believes new Home Office figures on hate crime should be taken as a danger warning to society.

Anthea McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, was responding to Home Office statistics published today and showing a significant increase in hate crimes in the year 2016-2017.

The biggest rise was in disability and transgender hate crimes.

The report also noted spikes in hate crime around the time of the EU referendum and after the Westminster Bridge attack in March this year.

Miss McIntyre launched the cross-party West Midlands Together campaign, together with her Labour colleague Neena Gill MEP, in the aftermath of the referendum to promote unity and challenge hate crime.

"These figures show a direct link between prominent events and sudden increases in these incidents and attacks.

"We have also seen an increase in people's readiness to report disability and transgender hate crime - and that is good news. There has anecdotally been a significant problem with under-reporting in all sectors.

"We want to make the West Midlands a beacon for tolerance and understanding, where these insidious crimes have no place.

"No event - be it a referendum, a terrorist attack or someone simply walking down the street - can ever provide justification for racism, religious discrimination, homophobia or any other kind of prejudice and hatred."