These emotive words from Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater in The Yorkshire Post yesterday have even more resonance after the House of Commons united in remembrance of veteran Tory MP Sir David Amess.
Sombre scenes last witnessed in June 2016 when Parliament grieved for Ms Leadbeater’s sister Jo Cox, it is a shameful indictment of society that some MPs received death threats and vile abuse over the weekend as they mourned Sir David.
A depressing new low, it is time for these perpetrators of hatred and division – most of whom are too cowardly to use their own identities on social media – to be brought to justice.
They might – just – think again if the likes of Twitter and Facebook were forced to keep up-to-date identity records and were compelled, perhaps via the current Online Harms Bill, to pass these to the police in the event of offensive and threatening content being posted.
It would then be possible for the courts to make an example of these keyboard warriors whose vile views are corroding democracy and leaving MPs questioning whether their desire to serve is actually worth the risks and the avalanche of abuse that they endure on a daily basis.
In every respect, yesterday’s poignant tributes, just like those five years ago after Jo Cox’s murder, brought out the best in Parliament as it united in grief.
Now, after the loss of Sir David, there’s an even greater onus on all MPs to work together, notably on reform of social media, and send out the strongest possible collective message that ‘enough is enough’. If not, the abusers and tormentors will have won – at the expense of democracy, debate and dedicated public servants.
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