Internet trolls should get web ban, MPs hear

John Mann
Image caption John Mann has suffered online abuse himself

Online trolls who bully and harass people should be banned from the internet, MPs have heard.

Labour MP John Mann said perpetrators should get a form of social media Anti-social Behaviour Order (Asbo).

He also accused internet companies of not doing enough to combat the problem.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has previously said that internet trolls could face up to two years in jail under new proposed laws.

'Bullied and intimidated'

"If we can ban people from going to a certain pub or certain football match... then the same should be done to specific parts of social media or, if necessary, to the internet as a whole," Mr Mann told the Commons.

He also said that a system which allows MPs to contact the police at a senior level "immediately" in the event of abuse or harassment should also work for anybody who is "bullied, intimidated and criminally harassed".

In response, justice minister Shailesh Vara said the government was "working and engaging with social media platforms, with the police and with other stakeholders with a view to try and improve the position".

Mr Mann, who has suffered online abuse himself, has recently been outspoken about the online abuse of fellow Labour MP Luciana Berger.

Image caption Luciana Berger was first elected to Parliament in 2010

He called for more to be done after the Liverpool Wavertree MP received what he described as "vitriolic and violent" anti-Semitic abuse.

Garron Helm, from Litherland, Merseyside, received a four-week custodial sentence at Merseyside Magistrates' Court last week for sending an offensive message to Ms Berger.

The issue of internet trolls recently came to the fore after online rape threats were made against the daughter of TV presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan.

Chloe Madeley was targeted after she sought to defend remarks made by her mother on ITV show Loose Women about convicted rapist and footballer Ched Evans.

Parliament is considering tougher penalties for internet trolls with those found guilty of making violent threats over the web liable to a maximum two-year jail sentence, under new legislation currently in the House of Lords.

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