A LABOUR MP has called on party leader Jeremy Corbyn to “name and shame” social media trolls after revealing that she has received 25,000 abusive messages over the past few months alone.
Counter-terrorism police have launched an investigation into a death threat received by Ruth Smeeth, which allegedly called for the Stoke-on-Trent North MP to be hung from the gallows.
While accepting that the messages were not being initiated by Mr Corbyn, Ms Smeeth said that they were being sent “in his name” and she held him “personally responsible” for them. She said Jewish and female MPs like herself were “bearing the brunt” and insisted it was not enough for the Labour leader simply to condemn abusive behaviour.
“It’s vile, it’s disgusting and it’s done in the name of the leader of the Labour Party, which makes it even worse,” Ms Smeeth told BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.
“I know that Jeremy Corbyn would condemn this, but it’s not about condemning, it’s about what people are doing in his name.
“What I need is for the leader of my party, the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition, to make it clear what can be done. He should be naming and shaming some of the worst perpetrators who are doing it in his name, and making it clear publicly that they do not speak for him, that this is unacceptable.
“There is a vile amount of racism and intolerance and abuse online, which then feeds on to our streets and leads to a culture of intolerance that he could actually personally do something about. That’s what I’m asking him to do.”
A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: “Jeremy has consistently spoken out against all forms of anti-Semitism and has contacted Ruth Smeeth to express his outrage at the abuse and threats directed against her.
“Jeremy condemns all abuse, and no-one responsible for it is a genuine supporter of Jeremy’s. He has repeatedly called for a kinder, gentler politics.
“This is why he launched Respect and Unity, a code of conduct calling on all Labour members and supporters to conduct themselves with a high standard of behaviour. Evidence of threats and abuse should be reported to the party and police so that action may be taken against those responsible.”
The flood of messages began in June after Ms Smeeth fled the launch of Labour’s report into anti-Semitism in tears after being accused by an activist of colluding with the right-wing press.