Dominic Raab: It's wrong that people can post abuse anonymously online

18 October 2021, 08:50

Dominic Raab said it was "wrong" to use anonymous social media accounts to abuse MPs
Dominic Raab said it was "wrong" to use anonymous social media accounts to abuse MPs. Picture: LBC

By Daisy Stephens

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has told LBC that the Government needs to "look again" at online abuse directed at MPs, particularly from anonymous accounts.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari, Mr Raab said online abuse was the "big challenge" facing MPs and that, whilst free speech was at the "heart of our democracy", it was "wrong" to use online platforms to direct abuse at MPs.

"The big challenge I think is what happens outside of the House of Commons chamber and particularly online," said the Justice Secretary, when asked if he agreed that the tragic death of Sir David Amess should lead to "better politics, better discourse, and a better sense of politics within the house".

Read more: Boris Johnson to lead tributes to Sir David Amess in House of Commons

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"Of course it's not just politicians, but I'm very conscious of female colleagues of mine who, with the abuse they get online, have decided to come off Twitter and there will be others outside of the political world who have been in the same position - campaigners, journalists, others - and I think it's absolutely wrong."

He went on: "We want an open, vigorous debate, free speech is crucial, it's at the heart of our democracy.

"But those using the platforms to abuse other people, particularly in these vociferous terms, and I think that's wrong.

"And we do need to look again."

Read more: Sir David Amess: MP says often 'nothing is done' when abuse reported to police

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He added: "There's obviously a lot of talk about anonymity online, I think that's something we need to look at... Those that are using the veil of anonymity as a platform for abuse, there's something wrong with that. So we'll look at that."

Mr Raab also highlighted the role of the Covid pandemic in online radicalisation, saying: "I think we all spent a lot more time online during lockdown... if you're particularly vulnerable, if you've got mental health issues, or anything in that category, people being cooped up for hours on end at home spending more time online, I think of course some of those risks associated with [being online] will have been accentuated."

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