UK Politics

MP wants action over 'vitriolic' Twitter abuse of colleague

Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger
Image caption Ms Berger was first elected to Parliament in 2010

Labour MP John Mann has demanded action over what he says is the "vitriolic and violent" anti-Semitic abuse directed at colleague Luciana Berger on Twitter.

Mr Mann said the abuse had got worse since a man was jailed for four weeks for sending offensive tweets to the MP for Liverpool Wavertree.

If the remarks had been published in a newspaper, he suggested the editor would have been hauled before MPs.

Commons Speaker John Bercow said such abuse was "beneath contempt".

Raising the matter in the House of Commons, Mr Mann said the abuse directed at Ms Berger had "deepened and worsened" since the conviction.

Image caption Mr Mann asked what could be done about Twitter

"If the medium used was a newspaper, I am quite certain that the House would demand that the editor would be dragged to the bar of the House and forced to explain himself or herself," he said.

He asked Mr Bercow what could be done about the social media site, which he said was "the medium by which this abuse against one of the members of this House is continuing on a most violent and daily basis".

In response, Mr Bercow said that where a crime had been committed, it was a matter for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

But he said he believed the Commons would be united in condemning all anti-Semitic abuse as "despicable and beneath contempt".

He added: "Decent people throughout the House and across the country would empathise entirely with the honourable lady (Ms Berger) and share my own assessment of the people responsible for that gratuitous abuse."

Ministers are considering tougher penalties for internet trolls, with those found guilty of making violent threats over the internet liable to a maximum two year jail sentence.

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