ANONYMOUS social media accounts could be banned due to sick trolls abusing MPs online, Priti Patel said.
The Home Secretary's comments came after Sir David Amess, 69, was stabbed and killed during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on Friday.
Anonymous social media accounts could be banned due to sick trolls abusing MPs online, Priti Patel said Credit: Sky News
She didn't rule out banning anonymity on social media as part of efforts to tackle online abuse Credit: Getty
She didn't rule out banning anonymity on social media as part of efforts to tackle online abuse, particularly in politics.
Asked on Sky News' Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme whether she would consider legislation to remove the right to anonymity on social media, Ms Patel said: “I want us to look at everything.
“There is work taking place already. We have an Online Harms Bill that will come to Parliament, there is working taking place on it right now.
“I've done a lot of work on social media platforms, mainly around encryption and areas of that nature.
“But we can't carry on like this. I spend too much time with communities who have been under attack, basically who have had all sorts of postings online and it is a struggle to get those posts taken down.
“We want to make some big changes on that.”
Ms Patel also said cops could stand guard outside constituency surgeries to protect MPs.
She said: “The speaker has already put in a range of measures post-Friday but there are other measures being considered – including officers or security during surgeries.
“There is a lot of work that has taken place already, with policing in constituency… these are immediate changes that are being discussed with MPs right now.
“MPs have already been contacted by local police forces asking what they're doing, checking their actual physical security, these are one-on-one conversations that are taking place.”
Asked if MPs could receive the level of close protection they receive in Westminster she said: “All these issues and options are in consideration right now.”
She added: “There is a lot of work taking place already.”
She said councillors are “out there every single day, to preserve and protect, you know that very essence of our democracy”.
Ms Patel said many MPs would be “reflecting” upon their own constituency interactions and safety this weekend.
“I've been a member of parliament for just over 10 years and we are part of the fabric, the DNA of society, our democracy, freedom, the chance for people to engage with us.
“But what I would say is that a lot has changed.”
Ms Patel said the murder of Jo Cox was an “intensive period” for MPs when it came to thinking about their own safety, adding: “We have all changed our ways of working because of changing concerns, threats in society.”
“This should never ever break that link between an elected representative and their democratic role, responsibility and duty to the people who elected them.”
TRAIN TO ATTACK
It comes as the man being held over Sir David's death was last night named as Ali Harbi Ali. Witnesses said he appeared “dead behind the eyes” after the attack.
The killer of Sir David travelled 50 miles by train to murder him – and apparently had told the MP's staff that he had recently moved to the area.
Security sources told The Mail on Sunday that Ali planned his murderous attack more than a week in advance.
Counter-terror cops believe he boarded a service in London to carry out the lone wolf attack.
He is believed to have waived his right to silence on arrest and is said to have admitted fatally stabbing dad-of-five Sir David 17 times at his constituency surgery at a church hall.
Sir David was stabbed 17 times at his constituency in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
A tribute on a card from a wellwisher was laid next to flowers
Priti Patel gives statement on death of Sir David Amess and faces questions on MPs security