MP blasts troll for web attack on Wigan Council chief exec

Jo Platt

An internet troll who sent an abusive message to Wigan Council’s chief executive has been condemned by a borough MP.

Leigh’s Jo Platt said that the Facebook message sent to Donna Hall, which read “horrible bitch should hang wish i held the rope”, was not uncommon.

The MP raised the issue with Home Secretary Amber Rudd during a topical questions session in the House of Commons.

She said: “Unfortunately, this was not deemed to violate Facebook’s standards. This is not an isolated case.

“There is a stream of incessant posts aimed at bullying and intimidating female representatives of the borough.

“What further action will the Government take to ensure that women in public office feel safe?”

Ms Rudd praised the Leigh representative for highlighting the matter as it was “an important issue”, which many MPs were having to currently deal with.

She added: “The sheer nastiness of comments online is something that we all disparage.

“We are actively engaging with the communications service providers on what they can do to take such comments down.”

The Home Secretary said Conservatives were often targeted for internet abuse.

She also urged Labour MPs to work with the Tories to tackle offensive messages which she claimed were often sent by activists working on behalf of Momentum, the left-wing organisation which has championed the rise of Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking after the debate, Ms Platt added: “Abuse such as this is not only deeply traumatic to receive, but sets an unacceptable example to others and may ultimately deter women standing for public office.

“We must all do more to call out these abusive comments and report them to the social media organisations who have an urgent duty to step up their moderation efforts.

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