Polegate MP speaks out over death threats and abuse

Polegate's MP has welcomed a report published today (Monday) on the intimidation received by MPs, election candidates and others.

Monday, 18th December 2017, 3:21 pm
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 3:31 pm
Graffiti on an election sign. Photo provided by the office of Ms Caulfield MP

Maria Caulfield says she has been the victim of abuse both online and offline, having received death threats, had tyres slashed, and her office and election signs covered in graffiti.

She said, “I hope the Government will really look seriously at this report. The abuse that myself and other MPs and candidates from all parties receive is disgusting. But it is not just us that is affected but our family, our staff, and election activists.

“My Newhaven office now has a video entry system so that staff can thoroughly check who is at the door before answering because of the intimidation and the worries that they have.

Abuse received by Maria Caulfield MP on Twitter. Image submitted by the office of Maria Caulfield

“It is not about protecting MPs from criticism in some Westminster bubble, but ensuring that we can be out in the community going about our work without intimidation or abuse.”

The recommendations by the independent Committee on Standards in Public Life include:

• Government should bring forward legislation to shift the liability of illegal content online towards social media companies.

• Social media companies must ensure they are able to make decisions quickly and consistently on the takedown of intimidatory content online

Abuse received by Maria Caulfield MP on Twitter. Image submitted by the office of Maria Caulfield

• Government should consult on the introduction of a new offence in electoral law of intimidating Parliamentary candidates and party campaigners.

• The political parties must work together to develop a joint code of conduct on intimidatory behaviour during election campaigns by December 2018. The code should be jointly enforced by the political parties.

• The National Police Chiefs Council should ensure that local police forces have sufficient training to enable them to effectively investigate offences committed through social media.