But it is also frightening for many MPs – because Sir David was not doing anything out of the ordinary when he was killed. He was just doing what very many MPs do regularly: meeting with his constituents face to face in an advice session. However, MPs don’t just offer advice; we try and help with problems, intercede with the council on our constituents’ behalf, or just give them the opportunity to meet with their MP personally and lobby us.
In the days since the tragic death of Sir David there has been a big debate about keeping MPs safe. I have some personal experience of the fear many MPs feel. I get ten times more abuse online than any other MP, and some of it contains death threats. So, I feel strongly that online platforms like Facebook and Twitter can do a great deal more about abusive content.
There is the general abuse. But this is accompanied by incitement to racial hatred, incitement to hatred of women, and threats of violence. To limit this abusive content, social media companies need to put a stop to end-to-end secrecy on their platforms. People could continue to post anonymously. But the platform should always hold their name and address.
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