Lisa Nandy: ‘Abuse caused me to switch off social media’

Lisa Nandy
Lisa Nandy

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy says she has “switched off” social media after being plagued by abusive and threatening messages.

In her column in this week’s Wigan Observer, Ms Nandy revealed the shocking reality faced by herself and many other MPs and journalists across the country as Britain heads towards Brexit crisis.

Wigan-born journalist Kay Burley revealed last week that she now needs security guards when broadcasting from outside Parliament because of the abuse she is now receiving.

Ms Nandy’s forthright article highlights the “rotten culture” created by sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which she believes act as a catalyst for abusive and threatening language towards local politicians.

She said: “On social media reasoned debate is drowned out by hate and anger. There is no check on facts.

“I am often now contacted by constituents seeking clarification about untruths they have read on social media.

“The public are deliberately being misled as a consequence, those responsible remain unaccountable for their decisions and problems remain unresolved.”

“It has become normal for public figures to receive threats to hang, shoot and stab them,” she said.

“There is still a clear difference between the way people speak to one another in person, which is usually thoughtful and measured and the numerous emails and Facebook posts all MPs receive which range from abusive to threatening.

“In recent weeks, all elected politicians have received thousands of emails like this.”

The Wigan MP, a passionate campaigner within the Labour party, admitted to withdrawing from social media and limiting her time on emails in favour or meeting people face to face.

She said: “In recent months I have switched off social media, limiting the time spent reading emails, and spent much more listening to people on the doorstep, in the community and in my surgeries. That is where the sensible, decent debate is found.”

“The vast majority of people in Wigan as in the country are passionate but measured, frustrated but thoughtful, and instinctively understand that it is only by working together with mutual respect and tolerance that we can heal the divide.

“They look to politics and see too few politicians giving them a voice. For all the cries of betrayal, as we enter this angry phase of debate in the run up to March, I am determined to do it.”