UK MPs face ‘out of control’ online hatred
Britain’s Justice Secretary has said online hatred poses an “out of control” threat to parliamentarians across the country.
Dominic Raab’s comments follow a recent stab to death by a British lawmaker.
Raab said online hate was ‘out of control’ – but that a wedge should not be put between MPs and their constituents following the murder of Sir David Amess.
Deputy Prime Minister called for an end to defamation of MPs as he paid tribute to ‘big-hearted’ Sir David, who was stabbed to death during a routine meeting with his constituents on Friday in Leigh -on-Sea, Essex.
Raab, who is also the justice secretary, told Sky News’s Kay Burley: “The elephant in the room of all of this is the amount of hate online we all receive is getting out of hand.
“I know the Home Secretary has talked about what more she wants to do there, the bill online is under pre-legislative review,” he noted.
“I am a man of free speech, I want to defend this until my last days but, at the same time, I think the amount of abuse, the defamation directed against MPs, especially women MPs, must stop, ”Raab said. .
He added that since his election in 2010 he was “very aware” that the risk to MPs had increased, especially at the local level.
“We are all aware as we try to make sure that we have that bond of trust with our constituents and our communities that all members of Parliament from all walks of life want to come together, cherish and nurture,” he said.
But he said MPs don’t want a “wedge” placed between them and their constituents.
Raab added that he would not personally choose to have plainclothes police outside of any surgery he was holding, saying it would have a “chilling effect”, but added that he could understand if others deputies wanted them.
“I think everyone has a real nervousness and worry and the forces are already doing it – the local forces have to sit down with them and see what they can do to provide concrete security but also what will reassure them and them. will reassure, “he added. he stressed.
“We are not going to be very good to our constituents if we are not confident going to these meetings and we are all looking over our shoulders with concern,” said the justice secretary.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said over the weekend that the anti-radicalization program Prevent would be reviewed to see if it was “fit for purpose”.
Raab defended the program, saying he didn’t think there could ever be a “perfect” anti-extremism program, but admitted that it could always be improved.
He said lessons would be learned from both the increase in hatred during the pandemic and the murder of Sir David. He added that Prevent is still being reviewed and modified to improve.
A 25-year-old man on suspicion of murder according to Sky News was arrested at the scene of the MP’s death on Friday and police were granted a detention warrant until October 22.
Sky News understands he is the son of a former senior Somali government official.
A spokesperson for the Somali Embassy in China also confirmed that the terrorist suspect is the nephew of Somali Ambassador to China Awale Kullane.
Sir David’s death was officially declared a terrorist attack on Friday evening.
The House of Commons will pay tribute to the 69-year-old man today, with a morning of prayer followed by a minute of silence and Members of Parliament paying tribute to their murdered colleague.
A memorial service is due to take place at Westminster Abbey from 6 p.m., but limited space means it will only be open to MPs and peers.
A condolence book is also placed in the Library of the House of Commons, as well as at Westminster Hall and Portcullis House.
On Sunday evening, Sir David’s family – his wife, four daughters and son – announced their ‘hearts are broken’ by what happened and called his death ‘cruel and violent’.