JOINT

Committee interview MPs to determine scale of threats and abuse

08 March 2019

The Human Rights Committee will interview MPs about the threats and abuse they experience as part of its inquiry into the threat to MPs and the right to protest.

The Committee will also be taking evidence from the Police, the CPS, Twitter, Facebook and House authorities.

Interviews with MPs will be conducted by House of Commons staff. The Committee will then draw conclusions and make recommendations in a report to government and other relevant authorities such as House authorities, the Police and the CPS.

Chair's comments

Harriet Harman MP, Chair of the Committee said:

"No MP should face a barrage of abuse for doing the job they were elected to do.  It’s in no-one’s interest if, to stay safe, MPs retreat from and become more remote from our constituents. MPs should not, as they have to in many countries, live behind bars.

"Jo Cox was killed, Rosie Cooper could have been killed, and others are threatened with death. But most assaults or threats against MPs are not even reported. As MPs we are hardwired to be champions of our constituents and help them with their problems. The last thing any MP wants is to be seen as a victim.

"In response to the rising threat, there’s a steady and worrying trend of MPs changing the way they work, and even what they say and how they vote.

"We’ll be making recommendations which protect the safety of MPs and respect the rights of protesters. We’ve got to start facing up to the rising tide of harassment and violence against MPs.  And stop it.  What is at stake here is our democracy."

The Committee will gather evidence on:

  • The scale and nature of the threats.
  • How and to what extent MPs are changing the way they work: for example, how they conduct advice surgeries, their attendance at meetings, or how they travel.
  • MPs ability to use social media to communicate.
  • If and how this affects MPs’ families and their staff, e.g. getting harassed while out in public with their families, or their staff in constituency offices.
  • The appropriateness of the response of authorities.

Further information

Image: Parliamentary Copyright

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