Lawmakers are urging Boris Johnson to end the long delay to act on social media abuse after the David Ames murder and the “toxic environment” was exposed.
An online harm bill — with hefty fines to hit tech companies failing to remove illegal and harmful content — was promised long ago by 2019, but still has no launch date.
During a tribute to the slain Southend MP, fellow Conservative Marc Francois said the law should now be put “on the law book” – and proposed that it be called ‘David’s Law’.
Earlier, Commons President Lindsay Hoyle made the same criticism – as she revealed a car bomb threat – saying: “If it was up to me and I was in charge of the law, I would have done something,”
In the Commons, Mr Francois said his friend had become “concerned about the toxic environment in which MPs, especially women MPs, were working”.
Of Sir David, he said, “He was appalled by the horrific anti-female abuse women MPs endure online and he told me recently that he wanted to do something about it.”
“I suggest that, if we want to make sure that our ally doesn’t die, we all, regardless of our party, collectively take up the baton and take the upcoming Online Harms Bill and clearly strengthen it. We do.
“So come on, if I may be so arrogant, David’s law on the book of statute—the gist of which would be that, while people in public life should be open to legitimate criticism, they can no longer be slandered or their Families cannot be subjected to the most horrific abuse, especially from those who, in collusion with for-profit social media companies, hide behind the cloak of anonymity.”
Following the mistreatment of England footballers at Euro 2020, then-culture secretary Oliver Dowden said new laws would be introduced by the end of December.
But his replacement by Nadine Dorries in last month’s cabinet reshuffle has raised concerns that it will be delayed further.
Amid the continuing shock over the second murder of an MP within 5 years, more MPs have revealed the abuse they faced – and despair at the police’s failure to act.
Former Labor MP Paula Sheriff said West Yorkshire police officers informed her of death threats, while Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab disclosed three threats to “life and limb” in just two years.
In the Commons, Mr Johnson led a tribute to Sir David, hailing him as one of the “best, kindest and most gentle” parliamentarians – and announced the creation of Southend as a city that would fulfill his dream .
His predecessor, Theresa May, said each MP had “lost a friend” and said he was an example of public service and being a “first-class constituency MP”.
Home secretary, Priti Patel told MPs: “There was no effort on David’s part to conduct the business of politics in a civilized, well manner, which came naturally to him. Complacency ran through him like writing in a stick of Southend Rock. “
And Labor leader Keir Starmer said: “Each tribute paints its own picture of a committed public servant of kindness, and a man whose decency touches everyone he meets.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /