EXCL Art student reported to police over fake MP website
3 min read
An art student was today reported to the police and parliamentary investigators after she posed as an MP offering constituency surgeries.
Ella Kenyon Peers set up a Twitter page and website pretending to be 'Ana Key', a newly elected MP for Deptford and Greenwich, for an art project.
She has today removed the surgery dates, but pages showing her campaigning and a letter to the local council mocked up on House of Commons-headed paper still remain.
Labour MP Vicky Foxcroft - who represents part of the area 'Ana Key' was claiming to cover - said the 24-year-old student’s actions were “extremely irresponsible”.
“I have contacted the Security Operations Centre and it has been escalated to the police and Parliamentary Investigation Team,” she told PoliticsHome.
“From a casework perspective I think this is extremely irresponsible. As an MP I deal with thousands of constituents with emergency cases, some of them about very serious issues on housing or immigration.
“If they were to attend the advice surgeries that have been advertised on the website, the details of which look to be copied from my own website, it would be breach of data protection and could cause harm and delay to constituent’s cases - many of which are extremely sensitive and rely on urgent action.”
Ms Peers told PoliticsHome: “It’s a conceptual art project - I thought it would be interesting to see what it might be like to have a genuinely socialist MP with proper left-wing views…
“They are real issues that people living in the area really face that obviously aren’t being addressed by the real MPs. It’s not a real constituency.”
And the Goldsmiths University student added: “I hold my hands up and say I don’t want people to think I’m an MP when I’m not. It’s an interesting way to use art as a platform for social change.”
However she “absolutely” rejected the charge that posing as an MP, and fumed: “It’s kind of sad that it takes this kind of thing for people to take an interest in some of these things.”
The website features the logos of left-wing groups TUSC and the Socialist Party - although neither were aware of the use until contacted by reporters today.
Clive Heemskerk, the national election agent of TUSC, recalled Ms Peers standing for TUSC in the past and said he was “ambivalent” about Ms Peers posing as an MP.
“If it is an art project then I applaud innovative use of media to try and put forward an alternative message that gets wide publicity,” he told PoliticsHome.
He added: “I’m happy for our logo to be used in arts projects, if that’s what it is.”
He said having an article about the Grenfell tower tragedy on the website was no problem, but he was concerned about Ms Peers advertising specific surgery dates.
UPDATE: Ms Peers has now changed the logo on her site so it differs from the portcullis image used by the official House of Commons channels.
She has also added a disclaimer to the bottom of the website which reads: "Ana Key MP is an art project which aims to explore real issues affecting people who live in Deptford & Greenwich."
A spokesperson for the House of Commons told PoliticsHome: "The designs and symbols of the House should not be used for purposes to which such authentication is inappropriate, or where there is a risk that their use might wrongly be regarded, or represented, as having the authority of the House.
"We are aware of this matter, and appropriate steps will if necessary be taken after it has been investigated by the Metropolitan Police."
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