Boris Johnson threatens Facebook and Twitter bosses with criminal action in crackdown on hate | Politics | New



The Prime Minister took the gauntlet by insisting that the government’s new internet security laws will crack down on hatred and extremism online.

His pledge comes in the wake of the brutal murder of Sir David Amess in a terrorist attack.

Since the murder, MPs have spoken of the sickening and constant online abuse they face – including death threats – on a daily basis.

The new legislation is expected to force the biggest tech companies, such as Facebook and Google, to uphold a user due diligence, overseen by Ofcom as the industry’s new regulator.

Mr Johnson told MPs the online mischief bill would progress in the Commons before Christmas.

However, some activists have raised concerns that it could stifle the free press, silence marginalized voices and introduce state-backed censorship.

Speaking during the Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson said: “The safety of Members of Parliament, indeed of all public servants, is of vital importance. The online security bill is of utmost importance, it is one of the most important tools in our arsenal.

He added, “What we are doing is making sure we crack down on companies that promote illegal and dangerous content and we will strengthen those provisions.

“What we are also going to do is make sure that the online security bill completes its stages in this House before Christmas.”

He agreed to work with Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer on the issue.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Sir Keir questioned why heads of platforms that did not crack down on extremism would not face criminal penalties under the government’s plans.

Mr Johnson later replied: ‘I have already said that we are prepared to do anything to strengthen the legislation.

“And, yes, of course, we will have criminal penalties with stiff penalties for those responsible for letting this filthy content permeate the Internet.”

The debate over MPs’ security intensified this week after Communities Secretary Micahel Gove was ambushed by anti-lockdown protesters as he passed through Westminster.

But Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said politicians should not be separated from the public.

“We have changed as a society, it has become more dangerous,” he said.

“But I think the connection with the voters, with the voters, our electorate is really important and I would in no way want to see that diminished or we as MPs, as politicians, kind of put in a cage of glass, separated from the voters. “

Video footage, which is being reviewed by Metropolitan Police, showed protesters swarming Mr Gove before officers formed a protective circle around the MP and helped him force his way into a nearby building.

The mother of Mr Gove’s children, Sarah Vine, wrote in her diary column on Wednesday about the harassment the family has faced.

Ms. Vine described feeling “under siege, in constant fear of being attacked,” and wrote: “As a family, we have suffered so much abuse over the years because of politics. So much hate, lies and vitriol.

“I had to hold my trembling teenage daughter as she suffered the worst online abuse following malicious stories about her father.

“I watched her 18th birthday marred by a nasty little piece of excrement that sent her a card threatening to kill her father if she didn’t comply with their requests.

“I saw my son’s eyes widen in fear, his hair standing on end, as he saw his father being abused in the street.

“This same father was only pushed around and assaulted by anti-lockdown protesters yesterday, and the police rushed to help him get away from them.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said officers had spoken to all London MPs over the past few days to discuss security arrangements and their scheduled appointments.

She said: “We take the safety of elected officials very seriously. We have a system in place to try to ensure that MPs get the right advice and the right support regarding their security, and over the last few days I can tell you we’ve spoken to all MPs in London (to) discuss of their security arrangements. and their staff, and their upcoming appointments.


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