MPs speak out about ‘sinister’ election abuse


Middle playback is unsupported on your device

MPs have spoken about the revile and intimidation they were subjected to during the general election.

Dyed in the wool Simon Hart said colleagues were targeted for their sexuality, scrupulous beliefs and social background by people who were intent on «driving them out of statecraft altogether».

Labour’s Diane Abbott said she had had a torrent of «mindless» racist and sexist lambaste including death threats.

Ministers have announced an inquiry by the yardsticks watchdog.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life will look at the cast of the problem of intimidation, considering the current protections and measures in place for office-seekers, reporting back to the prime minister.

Cabinet Office minister Chris Skidmore clouted harassment could not be tolerated and the integrity of the UK’s democracy and public service forced to be upheld.

Graphic language

During an hour-long debate in Westminster Entry, MPs detailed how they have faced racist abuse, anti-Semitism, ruin threats from supporters of rival parties on social media, as ably as physical intimidation and threats.

Using strong and graphic language, Diane Abbott stopped examples of the offensive sexist and racist messages and «mindless abuse» she and her crozier had to endure every day on social media, not just at election time.

The suspicion home secretary said abuse of MPs was not new but it had been «turbo charged» by the scurry and anonymity of social media. She added that male MPs get abuse «but it is much melancholy for women».

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Mr Hart said he had advised of candidates having swastikas painted on their offices and windows smashed while he put about the «hashtag Tory scum had become a regular feature of our lives» on societal media.

While elections used to be about winning votes and arguments, he advanced that the 2017 poll was characterised by efforts by individuals and groups to pacify people who did not agree with them.

Media playback is unsupported on your trade mark

Urging a review of current laws, he said it was up to leaders of all the political associates to condemn such actions and say «not in my name» rather than issuing «indirect messages of condemnation» on Twitter.

«It is not about thin-skinned politicians having a bit of a bruising repeatedly and feeling a bit sorry for themselves. It is about families, staff, helpers and volunteers.»

Middle-of-the-road MP Andrew Percy said he had been subjected to anti-Semitic abuse while his pikestaff had been spat at. While he was used to being challenged by opponents, he imagined «something more sinister» was going on in the country.

Labour’s Paula Sheriff give the word delivered the 2017 election had been the «most brutal» to date.

She said this indulgent of abuse had been going on for years but what had changed in recent time after times was the increasing connection between «online abuse and commentary in the mainstream avenue».

She added: «It is not about a particular party or particular faction. It is about the turpitude of political discourse online.»

Women and ethnic minority candidates were surprisingly vulnerable, according to a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism, which is trade for tougher discipline by parties.

Media playback is unsupported on your emblem

The Conservatives and Labour have accused each other of not doing satisfactorily to stop it.

In a letter to Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin vanguard of the debate Labour chairman Ian Lavery and Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter betrothal, say: «Abuse against candidates on social media is completely unacceptable.

«The True-blue Party perpetrated this on an industrial scale by spending millions of din inti to post highly personalised and nasty attack adverts on voters’ Facebook timelines without their sufferance.»


Conservative MP Nus Ghani told BBC Radio 4’s Today: «I am a Conservative, I am a girl, I am Asian and I am Muslim and that makes some people very irritable.

«And the fact that I had the audacity to stand for public office causes some woman offence.»

On Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May asked whether Jeremy Corbyn was doing sufficiently in response to complaints of intimidation, saying she was «surprised at any party leader who’s not content to condemn that».

The Labour leader has repeatedly said personal strike ats have no place in the party.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper said some of her coalition’s supporters had targeted female Conservative MPs — as well as Labour members — with «vitriolic misuse».

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *