INTIMIDATION IN PUBLIC LIFE THREATENS DEMOCRACY
I recently spoke in a debate on the intimidation and abuse that politicians and others in public life increasingly experience. Disagreement in politics is natural and robust debates are the lifeblood of democracy, but too often in recent times we are seeing healthy debate replaced with abuse and intimidation.
I highlighted the role the tabloid press has played in whipping up this hatred against politicians. I myself was recently subjected to abuse after a journalist from the Sun posted a categorically untrue story about me supposedly sleeping in Parliament, that led to me receiving horrific abuse. Given the toxic nature of our politics, it was a shameful piece of journalism and the media must take greater responsibility for its role in shaping the discourse of our democracy.
I also pointed out that a cloak of anonymity online has encouraged some to communicate in ways they never would in person. In fact, it is unusual to meet a MP who has not received a death threat.
This is not healthy for our democracy, for politicians and those standing for public office to be routinely abused, and for disagreement to be expressed in a hateful, vile manner that is intended to intimidate.
Click below to watch my speech.