Labour MP apologises for 'sewer' of abuse directed at young Tory

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
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A Labour MP has apologised for the wave of social media abuse received by a Conservative supporter who criticised Jeremy Corbyn.

Alice Terry, 29, said she regularly receives hateful messages because of her status as a young Conservative.

But the volume of abuse increased considerably this week, after she tweeted she was "genuinely embarrassed" that people in her generation supported the Labour leader.

The tweet has so far been retweeted directly more than 300 times and "liked" more than 1,500 times.

Dozens of people responded to her publicly with abusive messages and around 20 have sent her private messages directly, she said.

Among the insults sent to her privately were some that called her a "c***", a "slag" and "Tory scum".

When Ms Terry highlighted the responses she'd received, Labour's Jess Phillips replied saying: "So so sorry about this awful sewer of people."

Asked by a Conservative councillor if she would raise this "childish but harmful" abuse, Mrs Philips said: "Gladly."

Ms Terry told the Press Association: "I'm not blaming Labour because I have no information on the people sending the tweets but people need to be more aware of what they say to people on the internet."

"You could easily blame Jeremy Corbyn but the party are not very good... They don't seem to comment on the abuse that goes on online," she claimed.

"I'm not sure how many are actually interested in politics, I think some are quite bored or teenagers doing it for fun," she added.

In response to Ms Terry's claims, Labour said the party "does not tolerate online abuse of any kind".

It added: "Any complaints received by the Party about breaches of our rules are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action taken."

In mid-2016, Labour introduced a social media policy for all members, prohibiting "all forms of abuse".

The Conservative Party brought in a similar policy for election candidates in January of this year, although it does not extend to members.

Politicians called the 2017 general election the "worst ever" for online abuse, in which shadow home secretary Diane Abbott received 45% of all abusive tweets, according to Amnesty.

Twitter and other social networks like Facebook have faced repeated calls to deal with hate speech and online abuse on their platforms in recent years.

Recent EU figures show social networks have accelerated their removal of hate speech and abuse, meeting targets to review more than two-thirds of complaints within 24 hours.