Theresa May pledges crackdown on trolls after MPs targeted by 'left-wing' abuse

Posted On: 
4th July 2017

Theresa May has vowed to crack down on the online trolling of MPs after a dramatic rise in "hard left" abuse during the general election.

Ministers have pledged to crack down on the online abuse of political candidates.
PA Images

Ministers agreed to look at a plan of action to tackle the problem following a discussion at this morning's Cabinet meeting.

It came after South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray told the Commons last week how some of her opponents had carved swastikas into her posters, and also wrote “burn the witch” and “stab the c*nt” on social media during the election campaign.

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In particular, the Government is concerned at the targeting of female politicians for abuse.

A Conservative source told PoliticsHome: "There was a feeling around the Cabinet table that this is something that needs to be looked at.

"There was a point made that many female colleagues have suffered from this and there seemed to be a particular problem with hard-left Momentum-style people engaging in this and it's something that needs to be looked at.

"It was a recognition that it wasn't just Sheryll Murray, it is something we're hearing from lots of MPs, particularly female ones, and the Prime Minister is clear that there is absolutely no place for it in our democracy.

"This is something we haven't really seen before, both the level of vitriol but also the scale of it."

It is unclear whether any action would involve legislation leading to tougher sentences for those convicted of waging online campaigns of abuse.

At Prime Minister's Questions last week, Ms Murray said: "Someone even urinated on my office door. Hardly kinder, gentler politics. What can be done to stop this humiliation, which may well be putting good people off from serving in this place?"

Mrs May responded: "I believe that this sort of behaviour has no place in our democracy and I think she's right, I think it could put good people off from serving in this House," she said.

"I think particularly, as I stand here and see the plaque that has been dedicated to the late Jo Cox, we should all remember we are far more united and have more in common than the things that divide us."