In July, the Prime Minister commissioned the independent and respected Committee on Standards in Public Life to undertake a review into the abuse and intimidation that many Parliamentary candidates – across the political spectrum – experienced in the 2017 general election.
This is a welcome but hard-hitting report, that rightly highlights how public figures are routinely subject to unjustifiable abuse, fuelled by social media.
There are a number of areas that provide emerging consensus for action - including greater transparency on online campaigning, proper intervention by social media companies, and effective enforcement of criminal law.
Marking the publication of the report on December 13th, the Prime Minister said: ‘The Committee’s report provides a body of evidence showing the extent and seriousness of the problem. It considers the risks to freedom of speech, diversity, and debate and to our representative democracy if action is not taken. We need to protect our freedom of speech and the vitality of our political system, and the freedom and diversity of participation in that system, as well as ensuring the integrity of the democratic process... All those in public life need to demonstrate their opposition to intimidation and call it out, and report it when they see it. We must all work together to combat this issue.’
You can download and read the contents of the report here.