Wales politics

Abuse of politicians is 'definitely getting worse'

David Davies Image copyright House of Commons
Image caption David Davies described the abuse as "threatening"

Two Welsh MPs have said abuse against politicians has "definitely got worse", both online and in person.

David Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth and Carolyn Harris, Labour MP for Swansea East, said they had received "threatening" personal abuse.

It comes after a cross party committee called for a new code of conduct for MPs, Peers and workers in parliament.

They said members of the public were launching personal attacks rather than debating them on politics.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement, Mr Davies said abuse against politicians was on the rise.

"It's definitely getting worse," he said. "I noticed at the last election there was a level of unpleasantness I haven't seen before.

"I was involved in a row this week which is on YouTube and people said I was aggressive but I'm not going to sit and take a load of rubbish.

"The first thing you see on the video is a protestor saying to me 'you are the worst piece of scum I've ever met'. If I went up to somebody in the street and said 'you are the worst piece of scum' I would expect a fairly robust response.

Image caption Carolyn Harris said much of the abuse was personal and not politically motivated

"People think because he's an MP they can do that and get away with it...we shouldn't have to put up with stuff that nobody else would put up with."

Ms Harris, also on the programme, said much of the abuse came from social media.

She said was particularly targeted after the death of her eight-year-old son in 1989, but also after shadow home secretary Dianne Abbott wished her husband a happy birthday earlier this year.

"I've had it online and I've had in in person. I find people who have got nothing valuable to say or haven't got a good argument will just turn it into aggression to try and make a point.

"I think social media's played a big part in it. Keyboard warriors are now a lot braver because they have avenue to channel their hate."

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