MP faced personal abuse on social media during June’s general election

Victoria Prentis
Victoria Prentis

MP for north Oxfordshire Victoria Prentis is calling on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to take responsibility after a number of MPs, including Mrs Prentis, suffered online abuse.

Speaking at the abuse and intimidation debate in parliament last week, Ms Prentis asked if it would be possible to encourage Facebook and other social media platforms to have a system to enable accounts to be taken down in cases of abuse.

The debate comes after it was revealed several political candidates and the public faced abuse, intimidation, harrasment and bullying during the last general election.

In July, the Committee on Standards in Public Life carried out a review of the intimidation experienced by parliamentary candidates and the results are now being analysed.

In a statement to the Banbury Guardian, Mrs Prentis said: “The 2017 general election brought out the best and worst in people.

“It was a passionately fought campaign for all involved, but unfortunately a number of us, myself included, were subjected to some extremely worrying and upsetting abuse.

“This included comments on my appearance, foul language and general bullying and harassment. Since then, it has only got worse.

“The number of offensive online remarks peaked a number of weeks ago, prompting me to make the decision to remove all comments, both supportive and negative, from my Facebook page for the time being.

“I am not alone. A number of MPs from across the political spectrum have made the same decision. High-level discussions about the best way forward are ongoing and I will be making my views known.

“Of course, everyone should have the opportunity to express their views but there is absolutely no place in our democracy for the abuse we have seen over recent months.”

She added: “It is always good to hear the views of my constituents.

“I organise frequent surgeries in both Banbury and Bicester where people can raise their issues alongside my pub tours and new residents’ roadshows.

“Constituents can also email victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk. I always try to reply to all questions promptly, but urgent casework does take priority.”