Digital minister says she was target of online abuse and reported it to police

Margot James (Stefan Rousseau/PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Digital minister has revealed that she has received abuse online and reported it to the police.

Margot James, appearing on Sky’s Ridge On Sunday, was asked whether she had ever reported online abuse to the police, and told the programme: “I have.”

It comes as the Government announced new laws will be introduced to tackle the internet’s “wild west” to make Britain the “safest place in the world” to be online.

Many female MPs have reported receiving abuse online, and Ms James was asked about her own experiences.

Ms James told the programme’s host Sophy Ridge: “I would like to comment just generally though, Sophy, because I conducted a roundtable of women parliamentarians earlier this year and, like you, I was completely horrified by what I’ve heard.

“It’s not just of parliamentarians, it’s any woman in public life, and some of our famous broadcasters have had the most terrible abuse online which is completely unacceptable – if it’s not illegal it should be and I think some of it is.

“I feel very strongly that it shouldn’t be up to the taxpayer to fund all of the mechanisms by which this content is removed which is currently the case, it should be up to the platforms themselves.

“There is sufficient artificial intelligence available for them to make a huge impression on this and the fact that most of them don’t is highly irresponsible which is why we intend to bring in legislation to control it.”

Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson MP said: “It’s embarrassing that the social media companies don’t even take (Culture Secretary) Matt Hancock (seriously enough to show up to meet him.

“The data protection bill was the opportunity to get tough on the tech giants and the Government has squandered that.

“They voted down Labour’s proposal for a digital bill of rights that would have given adults and children stronger statutory protections online.”