EXCL Labour MPs accuse Tories of 'cyber-terrorism' after Article 50 no-shows shamed on Twitter
Angry Labour MPs have lined up to condemn the Conservatives after a number of them were publicly “shamed” on an official Tory Twitter account for supposedly voting against the Government’s Brexit timetable.
One accused their rivals of “cyber-terrorism”, while another demanded the Prime Minister disown the comments, which were posted last night by the Tory press office.
Embarrassingly for the Tories, PoliticsHome has learned that not one of the MPs targeted actually took part in the vote - with one currently on a cross-party delegation to China.
Some 23 Labour MPs last night voted against the motion to trigger Article 50 by the end of March next year.
The @CCHQpress account lashed out in a series of individual tweets that said certain MPs “won’t respect referendum result” and adding: “Labour are out of touch with ordinary working people.”
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock demanded an apology from Theresa May.
"At a time where politicians are constantly being attacked and vilified on social media it is deeply irresponsible to see that Conservative party HQ is actively condoning that sort of behaviour by deliberately targeting Labour MPs,” he told PoliticsHome.
"This sort of cyber-terrorism seems to be taking a leaf straight out Vladimir Putin’s playbook. I would urge the Prime Minister to distance herself from this and to apologise to all of the colleagues who have been targeted."
Former frontbencher Pat McFadden, who was targeted by CCHQ despite not voting last night, told PoliticsHome: “It’s unhealthy for our democracy for elected MPs to be attacked in this way for expressing their views."
The Wolverhampton South East MP added: “The Prime Minister should disown this activity and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
'ROTTEN HATRED AND VILIFICATION'
Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips, who backed the motion, told PoliticsHome it was “dangerous” for the Tories to fuel the "with us or against us” atmosphere.
“It is anti-democratic and feeds in to an already tense atmosphere and the rotten hatred and vilification of politicians which we all know can be very dangerous,” she added.
“We should be working together to get what's best for the country not what's best for our political parties."
Responding on Twitter to a journalist who accused the Tories of “shaming” the MPs, Ms Phillips said:
But Tory MP Stewart Jackson said on Twitter that the naming and shaming of Labour MPs was “called accountability,” and accused those outraged of being “solicitous”.
However none of the MPs who were targeted even voted on the Commons motion, with one - Ilford North MP Wes Streeting - in China during the debate.
A Labour spokesman said: "This is nonsense stuff. Hopefully some Tory official somewhere is being quietly reminded that this isn’t how Parliament works, while it’s pointed out to them that Theresa May didn’t vote in this division either. The alternative reading would be that they’re deliberately trying to mislead people – that would be downright nasty.
“I’d expect the Tories to distance themselves from these tactics as quickly as possible.”
The Conservative party failed to respond by the time of publication.