Intimidation in Public Life — [Sir Gary Streeter in the Chair]

Part of Secondary School Standards: East Cleveland – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 21st May 2019.

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Photo of Simon Hart Simon Hart Conservative, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire 2:30 pm, 21st May 2019

I agree, as does the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which would go a bit further and mention the negative impact on diversity as a whole, in this Parliament and others. That point is well made, and it has been acknowledged by relevant Committees here. We will hear from the Minister in due course whether that will translate into immediate action.

In the last few days alone, one person has been jailed for life for making a death threat against one of our colleagues, and the hon. Member for Rhondda and numerous others have had their own experiences. A number of other cases are currently live and therefore sub judice, so we probably should not mention them. There are quite a lot of ongoing incidents at various stages of the legal process. Only yesterday, somebody of the name of Ruth Townsley, who is unknown to me, casually tweeted about the recent incident involving Nigel Farage that she would

“prefer acid but milkshakes will do for now”.

I am not here as an apologist for Nigel Farage, but he is as entitled as anybody to be out on the campaign trail. Although he may easily be able to deal with milkshake attacks, it must be the height of irresponsibility, if not criminal, for people casually to take to social media and bandy around such suggestions as if they were some kind of joke.