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Christian MP says nastiness against politicians is 'bad for democracy' as abusive tweets soar

by Tola Mbakwe

Analysis by PoliMonitor, a political technology company, showed that candidates received abuse or insulting remarks in 16.5 per cent of mentions or replies about them on Twitter, that's about one in six tweets.

The research analysed 139,564 tweets sent on November 11 2019 which either mentioned or replied to the 2,503 candidates standing in the 2019 General Election who are on Twitter.

Dr Cameron, who has retained her seat in East Kilbride, said last week one of her own campaign leaflets was scrawled with a swastika and posted through her door.

She also said she was subject to much abuse online following her vote against lifting Northern Ireland's abortion ban in July, and even feared deselection over the issue.

Chris McAndrew/Parliament UK

In an interview with Premier about her win, she said: "It just goes to show how difficult politics has become. I was thinking about it last night during the result, how the abuse in politics must put people off entering into politics at all.

"And that's such a bad thing for democracy. We need people from all different backgrounds and faiths to enter politics and to reflect the society that we have."

The report comes after more than 50 MPs chose not to contest the General Election, with four female politicians citing issues of bullying as their reason for standing down.

PoliMonitor's research showed that party leaders Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson were targeted most frequently, with Diane Abbott, who has previously spoken out about abuse, receiving 885 abusive or insulting tweets over one day.

Of the 515 candidates who received abuse, the top 150 candidates received 96 per cent of abusive or insulting tweets.

It's been announced that newly elected MPs will take part in a security and wellbeing induction session for the first time, covering cyber security, staying safe on and off the parliamentary estate, and wellbeing services.

A UK Parliament spokesman said: "The safety and security of MPs and their staff both on the Parliamentary Estate and elsewhere is an absolute priority.

"We work closely with local police forces, who are responsible for the security of MPs and their staff away from the Parliamentary Estate, to ensure MPs are kept safe and are able to perform their duties."

Former Tory MPs Caroline Spelman and Nicky Morgan, former Labour MP Dame Louise Ellman and former Liberal Democrat MP Heidi Allen have all cited abuse as contributing to their decision not to run in the election.

(Additional reporting from Press Association)

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