Frontrunner to succeed Bercow said female Jewish MPs ‘face worst of it’ online

Frontrunner to succeed Bercow said female Jewish MPs ‘face worst of it’ online

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who may take the reins from John Bercow, called on social media companies to do more in order to stop antisemitic, Islamophobic and misogynistic abuse

Sir Lindsay Hoyle
Sir Lindsay Hoyle

The favourite to succeed John Bercow as Speaker of the House of Commons has led the fight to protect Jewish and Muslim MPs from online abuse, calling on social media companies to do more.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Labour MP for Chorley and currently the Deputy Speaker, told the Home Affairs Select Committee in March 2017 that Jewish female MPs “face the worst of it” and that he had personally met several to discuss their security.

Asked about threats to Muslim women, he said: “We also have female Jewish MPs who are targeted no differently. Hatred is being portrayed in exactly the same way. It is much broader. They really do face the worst of all of it.”

Describing how Parliamentary security prioritises MPs thought to be most at-risk, he added: “We take it on board, and that is the starting point: the one who is most likely to be under attack and vulnerable.”

He was giving evidence in the wake of the murder of Jo Cox MP, and called on social media companies to act faster to get rid of online hate or risk legislation requiring them to do so.

Also in the mix to replace Bercow as Speaker is veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman, a QC and former minister who has chaired the Joint Committee on Human Rights since 2017.

In November 2017, however, she was publicly rebuked by TV politics show host Andrew Neill for re-telling a sick joke about Jews live on TV, saying: “How do you get 100 Jews into a Mini? One in the driving seat and 99 in the ashtray.”

While she said it was “not funny” and that she had protested when she first heard it, Neill stopped her from speaking further and later tweeted that he had been “appalled” that she should say such a thing live on TV.

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