MP Forced To Move Family Out Of Home While Troll Shared Address Online

"The level of abuse that I was getting was just so much that it was traumatic, it felt dangerous and I couldn't see the point of it."
Miriam Cates MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge
Miriam Cates MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge
Danny Lawson - PA Images via Getty Images

An MP has told how she was forced to move her family out of their home while a troll encouraged people to share her address online.

Tory Miriam Cates, an MP in the so-called “red wall”, said she sometimes felt frightened and “exposed” by the abuse.

The MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge also revealed she deleted her Twitter account due to the level of “traumatic” abuse she received.

In an interview with GB News, Cates said some of her colleagues had “harrowing” stories.

She added: “I’ve had an experience where somebody was trying to incite Twitter users to share my address online. I had to move family out of the family home while police got involved.

“You learn to live with it, but you do feel exposed.”

It comes as the culture secretary Nadine Dorries pledged to bring in sweeping legislation to crack down on online hate, saying it had “poisoned public life”.

MPs’ safety has been brought into sharp focus after the killing of Tory Southend West MP David Amess.

Dorries said the killing may not have been prevented by an online abuse crackdown but it “brought into sharp relief” the threats posed to those in the public eye.

Cates also discussed why she was in a small minority of MPs who do not use Twitter, adding: “As it got towards the [2019] election, over the election and just past the election, the level of abuse that I was getting was just so much that it was traumatic, it felt dangerous and I couldn’t see the point of it.

“And even though I stopped looking at comments, my staff still had to look at it, and that was really, really unpleasant for them, and then you have to decide what you report to the police.

“You know, I just thought ‘what’s the point?’ Who am I communicating with on Twitter? Because most of my constituents aren’t on it and I communicate with them in my surgeries, through email or phone, Facebook, local newspaper.

“I don’t need Twitter to be a constituency MP, so I just deleted the account, and I’m really glad I did.”

Cates said she “occasionally” considers going back to Twitter, but for now she was happy not to.

The interview will be aired on GB News at 12.30pm.