Constituency service must continue, but platforms for hate must be tackled - Lockhart

Commenting on the horrific murder of Sir David Amess MP, the DUP’s Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has expressed her shock and sadness at the death of her colleague in the House of Commons. The local representative also said those intent on attacking democracy must not be allowed to curtail the public representation offered by elected representatives. The MP, who has endured years of online hate, also said online platforms must be challenged for their role in facilitating hate.

By Carla Lockhart Candidate

Upper Bann

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Carla Lockhart said:

“I have had the pleasure of being in the company of Sir David in recent months the most memorable being when Ian Paisley MP and I were asked by him to assist in launching his recently published book. David’s book was about life as an MP, and as someone with a lifetime of public service his book was a great read for anyone wanting a glimpse into life as a Member of Parliament. He was charming, kind, intelligent and deeply principled man. I will miss him greatly and send my sincere condolences to his wife and children, the wider family circle, and his staff for whom this must be hugely traumatic.

This is yet another attack on democracy. The shock that followed the murder of Jo Cox MP is now once again palpable in the corridors of Westminster. MPs serving their constituents, murdered in the exercise of that duty. Yet there is also a steely resolve that the interaction with constituents must continue. I love meeting the public and helping in the best way I can. This must never be allowed to be stopped because of the threats posed by lunatics who are intent on violence. We just need to think how we counterbalance the violent fixation from such crazed people.

As a society, we need to take time to reflect on the tragedy of recent days. We all have a duty to moderate our language, and those who consistently vilify and demonise politicians, feeding that hate in some cases, must consider their actions. Free speech is a cornerstone of our society, but hate speech, abuse and harassment whether on the street or online is a plague we need to address. The days of anonymous accounts that can be used to issue hate speech, death threats, abusive and menacing messages must end. There is no justification for allowing this to continue, and I urge the Government to at least take this step to reduce toxicity in the public sphere.”

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