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A cabinet minister has revealed a member of the public was once arrested for threatening to burn down her house while her children were inside.
International trade secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan said she had received a “certain amount of trolling” online which has come under renewed attention following the suspected murder of David Amess on Friday.
On Monday MPs led tributes to the late Southend West MP, with Tory MP and friend of Amess Mark Francois suggesting that a new law to ban anonymity online should be brought in to honour Amess’s legacy.
Asked by LBC whether she had ever received abuse online, Trevelyan replied: “The online trolling that I’ve had, I’ve had a certain amount, I’ve had to have someone arrested who was threatening to burn down my house when my children were in it.
“These things are ghastly and entirely wrong, and our police forces work incredibly hard to support us as parliamentarians and to protect our families, but we are going to keep looking at that.”
MPs’ safety has been called in question following Amess’s killing on Friday, which took place during a surgery in his constituency.
There have been some calls for the weekly face-to-face surgeries to end and to instead be moved online in a bid to protect MPs.
On Monday home secretary Priti Patel said a review of policing for politicians is “concluding literally in the next few days”.
She said “we see far too much cruelty online” as her colleagues on the Tory and Labour benches recalled the abuse and death threats they had received.
“Now clearly the online space, we see far too much cruelty online and I think all of use have a responsibility and a duty to work together and I do think working together is part of the solution here and then of course when it comes to this place and to public life and politics, I would use one word and that is respect,” she said.
Proposing David’s law, Francois said: “In the last few years David had become increasingly concerned about what he called the toxic environment in which MPs, particularly female MPs were having to operate in.
“He was appalled by what he called the vile misogynistic abuse which female MPs had to endure online and he told me very recently that he wanted something done about it.
“So let’s put, if I may be so presumptuous, David’s law onto the statute book, the essence of which would be that while people in public life must remain open to legitimate criticism, they can no longer be vilified or their families subject to the most horrendous abuse, especially from people who hide behind a cloak of anonymity with the connivance of the social media companies for profit.”