Watchdog to bite back at MPs who use Twitter for ‘unreasonable' personal attacks

MPs who launch ‘excessive’ personal attacks on Twitter could be investigated by Parliament’s standard watchdog under a package of measures to clean up Westminster – Matt Rourke /AP

MPs who launch “excessive” personal attacks on Twitter could be investigated by Parliament’s standards watchdog under a package of measures to clean up Westminster.

Under the proposed changes, MPs would face a probe if they engage in “unreasonable” attacks online, verbally or in writing in a way that risks bringing Parliament into disrepute.

The proposal has been put forward by the Commons committee on standards as part of its review into the MPs’ code of conduct, which has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the recent Owen Paterson case and wider allegations of sleaze.

In its report, published on Monday, the committee revealed that Kathryn Stone, the commissioner for Standards, had received hundreds of complaints concerning alleged “misuse” of social media by MPs since April 2020.

However, it stressed that the measure was aimed at curbing abusive content rather than curtailing MPs’ free speech, and would bring Westminster in line with the Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies.

Alongside this, the report recommends that MPs should be required to abide by a new principle of “respect”, requiring them to demonstrate “anti-discriminatory attitudes and behaviours through the promotion of anti-racism, inclusion and diversity”.

However, the committee noted that the proposal divided opinion among MPs who were asked to share their views, with one dismissing it as “just trying to be woke”, another as “nonsense”, and a third as a threat to the “cut and thrust” of open debate.

It added that the principle, if adopted, would therefore sit within the code rather than becoming an eighth addition to the seven Nolan principles of public life.

Amid wider concerns over second jobs and lobbying, the committee has also recommended an “outright ban” on MPs providing paid parliamentary advice, consultancy or strategic services, echoing the calls of Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer.

If approved, the suite of measures would require all MPs with outside roles to hold a contract with their employer which would specify that they cannot use the position to lobby on the company’s behalf or provide advice on how to do so.

The plans would also seek to clarify a “grey area” in the rules whereby MPs are able to cite a “serious wrong” or public interest exemption in order to raise certain issues with public officials or ministers.

The exemption has fallen under the spotlight after Mr Paterson cited the exemption to argue he was not guilty of lobbying when he repeatedly contacted the Food Standards Agency on behalf of two companies he was paid by as a consultant.

Elsewhere, the committee appeared to distance itself from the Prime Minister’s calls for a new “reasonable” time limit on MPs’ second jobs, which it suggested would be hard to police.

Mr Johnson put forward the proposal after Sir Geoffrey Cox QC, the former attorney general, was found to have spent parts of lockdown working overseas for the British Virgin Islands, which is currently subject to an inquiry over allegations of corruption.

While the committee said it would be “wholly inappropriate for any MP to take on paid employment that prevented them from fully carrying out their range of duties”, the difficulties involved meant that any change should only “be implemented with broad cross-party support”.

The committee, which comprises a group of cross-party MPs and lay members, will therefore seek further views on time limits, along with a wider consultation on its proposals, before putting its final recommendations to the Commons in the new year.

In a move that would have direct implications for the Government, the committee has also recommended ending the exemption which allows ministers to avoid registering gifts or hospitality they receive in a ministerial capacity in the Commons register.

Boris Johnson has personally come under the spotlight in recent weeks over his holiday at a Spanish villa owned by the family of minister Lord Goldsmith, who is also one of his closest allies.

While the Prime Minister declared the trip in the register of ministers’ interests, Downing Street argued he did not need to publish the details in the separate register covering all MPs.

Commenting on Monday, Chris Bryant MP, the Labour chairman of the committee, said: “The past few weeks have seen a number of issues raised about MPs' standards, but the key overarching issue here is about conflict of interest.

“The evidence-based report published by my committee sets out a package of reforms to bolster the rules around lobbying and conflicts of interest.

“These aren't the final proposals we're putting to the House. This report is the committee's informed view on what changes we need to tighten up the rules and crack down on conflicts of interests following a detailed evidence-led inquiry.

“We will consult and hear wider views on what we've published today before putting a final report to the House for a decision in the new year.”

A recurring theme in the report was the issue of respect, with the committee and Ms Stone expressing concern that social media has allowed personal attacks which do not break the law to be “widely disseminated” in a way which “can be regarded as disreputable”.

The committee noted that a “high proportion” of complaints made by members of the public to Ms Stone related to MPs' social media postings “on the basis that they allegedly contain abusive or disrespectful language or errors of fact, exaggerations or downright lies.”

However, it stressed it was not seeking to police the truth or legitimacy of MPs’ views, as this would “represent a significant erosion of free speech within the parliamentary system.”

Instead, it said the changes would be focused on “abusive content” directed by MPs at individuals.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Video: The Masked Singer 2022: Keane frontman Tom Chaplin becomes the fifth celebrity to be voted out as he's unveiled as Poodle after belting out Natasha Bedingfield's classic hit Unwritten

Read more »

State has released only 7 bureaucrats on Central service against 82 quota

© Provided by The Statesman State has released only 7 bureaucrats on Central service against 82 quota The Mamata Banerjee government has released only seven IAS officers for Central deputation ... Read more »

Peacemaker Just Casually Bested Every DCEU Movie In One Major Way

Courtesy of HBO Max Filmmaker James Gunn made a major splash in the world of superhero movies in 2014 with the MCU film “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Despite having to ... Read more »

Sharp fall in cop revamp funds as states fail to utilise them

© Provided by The Times of India NEW DELHI: The home ministry released Rs 103 crore and Rs 89 crore under the central scheme for ‘assistance to states for modernisation ... Read more »

The Other Two's Heléne Yorke Reveals She Is Pregnant with Her First Child — See Her Baby Bump!

© Provided by People Dia Dipasupil/Getty Helene Yorke Heléne Yorke is going to be a mom! The Other Two star, 36, showed off her baby bump Saturday in an Instagram ... Read more »

Toddler Slapping Dad to 'Make Sure He's Alive' After Being Left With Dead Mom: Lawyer

© PABLO MONSALVE / VIEWPRESS VIA GETTY IMAGES Above, a man experiencing homelessness sits in the rain on April 24, 2020, in New York City. A toddler has been slapping ... Read more »

Apex Legends Leaks Hint at New 'Capture' Game Mode

© Provided by DBLTAP Apex Legends leaker Shrugtal sparked rumors of a new game mode in Season 9, when they found a codenamed game mode labeled “Capture.” Then, in Season ... Read more »

Jack Grealish 'waited in the tunnel' to confront Southampton's Oriol Romeu after the Spaniard fouled the Man City star during their 1-1 draw at St Mary's... prompting the £100m England forward to get up and push his rival

Jack Grealish waited in the tunnel to confront Oriol Romeu at SouthamptonThe Man City star clashed with the Spaniard after a foul during the second half Grealish got up and shoved Romeu before their team-mates separated themRalph Hasenhuttl was delighted with his side's performance in their 1-1 draw  Read more »

Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba suffers a gruesome head injury against Derby County... but carries on playing as his side come out on top in the East Midlands derby

Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba was left with a gruesome head injuryThe 27-year-old collided with Tom Lawrence towards the end of the first-half  He carried on playing with a bandage as his side won at the City Ground  Read more »

Ralf Rangnick admits he's still 'not quite happy' with Man United's work in possession after watching them scrape all three points against West Ham thanks to Marcus Rashford's injury-time winner

Man United's Ralf Rangnick was satisfied with his defence against West HamBut he says his side could do better both in possession and in the final third The win against the Hammers sees United go fourth for first time since October Read more »

Arizona Dems CENSURE Sen Kyrsten Sinema after she votes against ending filibuster for her 'failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy'

The Arizona Democratic Party formally censured Senator Kyrsten Sinema over her inaction to end the filibuster in order to pass major voting rights reformThe censure is mostly a symbolic move, but it does highlight criticism that Sinema has faced from members of her own party The censure was a 'result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy,' Raquel Teran, the state party's chair said  Saturday Recent polling has indicated that Sinema is facing a rising amount of backlash from Democratic voters Read more »

An education: Matrics from Limpopo village mark a turbulent year

The school governing body made several pleas to the provincial department of education to request more teachers. But every request was met with the same response. © Copyright (c) Daily ... Read more »

Human remains found decades ago now tied to 1970s cold case

© Office of the District Attorney County of Riverside Linda LeBeau went missing in 1977, remains found in 1986 have now been identified as belonging to her – Office of ... Read more »

Coronavirus: Long COVID patients share 'horrendous' experience

There is no clear data yet on why some people are affected more by long COVID than others. Read more »

'Title race is on' - Liverpool fans say same thing after Man City draw at Southampton

Liverpool have been handed a new lease of life in the Premier League title race after Manchester City dropped points on Saturday evening. After 12 straight victories, City had to ... Read more »

Nusrat Ghani: Tory MP says she was told she was fired because of her ‘Muslimness’

A Tory MP has accused a Government whip of telling her that she was sacked from her ministerial post because her Muslim faith was “making colleagues uncomfortable”. Nusrat Ghani lost ... Read more »

Ravens moved on from Don 'Wink' Martindale because of how their season ended?

© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Don Martindale is surprisingly on the market for defensive coordinator-needy teams. Some outside interest already emerged before the Ravens moved on from their four-year defensive play-caller. ... Read more »

Wall HS head football coach out after hazing scandal

© Provided by USA TODAY High School Sports Wall (N.J.) High School is looking for a new head coach after a hazing scandal rocked its program and brought an abrupt ... Read more »

Mother of alleged NYPD cop killer speaks on ‘distorted' mind of son after Harlem shooting

The mother of the gunman who allegedly killed an NYPD cop and critically injured another in Harlem told The Post Saturday her son is mentally ill. “His mental state is ... Read more »

Bengals Will Be Without 6 Players Today vs. Titans

© Provided by The Spun A general photo of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet on the field. The Cincinnati Bengals won’t be at full strength when they battle the one-seed Tennessee ... Read more »

KMC: Covid vax at home for senior citizens

© Provided by The Statesman KMC: Covid vax at home for senior citizens In the wake of requests from citizens to vaccinate senior citizens at their residence since many are ... Read more »

Congress seeks judicial probe into Mandi hooch tragedy

© Provided by Hindustan Times Addressing a press conference, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) spokesperson Naresh Chauhan said that a sitting judge of the high court should conduct the inquiry ... Read more »

'One of the worst players I've seen' - Many Leeds fans fume at 'awful' ace who 'should be sold'

Lots of Leeds United fans have flooded to Twitter to share their anger with the performance of Rodrigo in their shock defeat on Saturday afternoon.  Rodrigo started the game for ... Read more »

Himachal government shielding liquor mafia: Mukesh Agnihotri

© Provided by Hindustan Times Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri alleged that the Himachal government was sheltering the liquor mafia. (AP File Photo/ Representational image) Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri ... Read more »

Himachal logs 2,216 fresh Covid cases, 6 deaths; Solan reports highest infections

© Provided by Hindustan Times Kangra is the worst-hit district in Himachal with 58,112 Covid cases reported since the pandemic outbreak in March 2020. Highest 359 cases were reported from ... Read more »

Majithia's sand-mining allegations against me out of revenge: Channi

© Provided by Hindustan Times In reply to Majithia’s allegations, Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi categorically denied any link with his nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey’s activities and the money-laundering ... Read more »

Packers vs. 49ers prediction: Green Bay will show why it's top seed

Saturday GREEN BAY PACKERS (-5.5) over San Francisco 49ers Like so many others, we’ve enjoyed the recent positive ride QB Jimmy Garoppolo has provided to the San Fran contingent. Bully ... Read more »

ITV Masked Singer fans all guessing same celebrity for Traffic Cone that judges haven't guessed yet

This year’s series of The Masked Singer is now in full swing, and it is already washing the January blues well and truly away. The quirky ITV singing competition sees ... Read more »

Masked Singer's Poodle unmasked as Keane singer Tom Chaplin in vote-off

The Masked Singer UK fans learned Poodle was Keane singer Tom Chaplin on the ITV series on Saturday night. The character became the latest to be unmasked on the hit ... Read more »

Mom Finds Internet Fame for Looking Just Like Super-Strong Encanto Character: 'I Was Shocked'

Shortly after the release of Disney’s Encanto, TikToker Maribel Martinez soon saw the similarities between her and one of the movie’s larger-than-life characters. Now Martinez, a 23-year-old mom of two, ... Read more »

Some Evive Smoothies Are Being Recalled Because They May Cause Cyanide Poisoning

An Evive smoothie recall is in effect right now in Canada because there’s a risk of cyanide poisoning with the product. © Provided by Narcity On January 21, a notice ... Read more »

The Masked Singer 2022: Keane frontman Tom Chaplin becomes the fifth celebrity to be voted out as he's unveiled as Poodle after belting out Natasha Bedingfield's classic hit Unwritten

The songwriter, 42, became the fifth celebrity to be revealed after Pat Cash was unmasked as Bagpipes on last week's show Tom left the competition after he attempted to earn the judge's favour by belting out the classic hit Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield After his performance judges Davina McCall, Rita Ora, Mo Gilligan and Jonathan Ross guessed it could be Mika or Rylan under the costume, but they were incorrectSpeaking after being unmasked Tom said: 'I've loved it, I found it exhilarating and terrifying and confusing, but I really have had the best time' Read more »

Adele's Las Vegas concerts derailed after series of explosive rows about staging

ADELE’s dramatic cancellation of her Las Vegas concerts came after a series of explosive rows about the staging derailed the production. The superstar left fans — some of whom had ... Read more »

Five players to watch in AFCON knockout stages

© Kenzo Tribouillard Jim Allevinah has scored twice for a Gabon side deprived of star man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang As the Africa Cup of Nations heads into the knockout phase, AFP ... Read more »

'I love Ryan as a character' - Praise for Irish international after match-winning display

© Alamy Stock Photo Ryan Manning r of Swansea City celebrates after scoring. SWANSEA HEAD coach Russell Martin hailed the character of match-winner Ryan Manning after the wing-back’s super strike ... Read more »

Jack Grealish 'waited in tunnel' to confront Southampton rival after ill-tempered clash

Jack Grealish was left furious with Oriel Romeu after Manchester City’s frustrating draw with Southampton. Grealish and Romeu clashed after a tackle by the midfielder during the second half as ... Read more »

Mikel Arteta urged to make Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang decision for in top four race

Who Is An Alternative Signing To Arthur? See more videos What to watch next Chelsea Ousmane Dembele 'Interest' Amid Barcelona Uncertainty Chelsea Ousmane Dembele 'Interest' Amid Barcelona Uncertainty Mikel Arteta ... Read more »

Scott Jamieson to take one-shot lead into final round of Abu Dhabi Championship

© Getty Images Scott Jamieson is -11 after three rounds – Getty Images Scotland’s Scott Jamieson made two late birdies to stay on track for a career-changing win at the ... Read more »

Ukrainisches Aussenministerium beruft deutsche Botschafterin ein

© Keystone/ZB/Bernd Wüstneck Vor dem Hintergrund des Ukraine-Konflikts hat ein führender deutscher Militär mit Aussagen zu Russland für Irritation gesorgt. Der Vizeadmiral und Chef der Deutschen Marine, Kay-Achim Schönbach, äusserte ... Read more »

Pep Guardiola's Carabao Cup lament reveals reason for Man City's uneven Southampton showing

© Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Pep Guardiola in conversation with Aymeric Laporte, who was Man City’s goalscorer at Southampton. Personal experience confirms that Pep Guardiola pulls off an “honestly, what on ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic