Mensch berates 'immoral' Twitter users over abuse

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Louise Mensch
Image caption,
The MP, a former author, has documented the abuse in the "favourites" section on her Twitter page

Conservative MP Louise Mensch has hit out at "immoral and misogynistic" Twitter users for subjecting her to abuse for her stance on Rupert Murdoch.

The Commons media committee, on which she sits, passed a Labour amendment describing Mr Murdoch as not "fit" to run a major international company - but Conservative members voted against it.

Mrs Mensch's criticism of the charge prompted tweets calling her a "whore".

She told the BBC that it was important to "call bullies out".

The MP for Corby has publicised some of the abuse she had received on the social networking website, including one message that branded her a "bitch" and another that read "given half the chance, you'd strangle her".

Another Twitter user said they would "love to hit Louise Mensch in the face with a hammer". She was also called a "slut" and likened to diarrhoea.


Media caption,
Louise Mensch: It's just a matter of calling bullies out

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mrs Mensch said: "Abuse directed at women is always sexual or violent.

"If somebody is considered attractive, it's a sexual and violent fantasy levelled against them. If someone is considered unattractive, it's personal remarks about their body."

She added: "The stuff directed at me was not illegal, it was just immoral and misogynistic."

The website itself should not be held responsible for the abuse, she said: "It's the fault of the users - they have to be responsible for their own words and what they say."

Cumbria Police chief constable Stuart Hyde, who has national responsibility with the Association of Chief Police Officers for e-crime, said: "I have read the comments made about Louise and it is sexist bigotry at its worst."

Some of the tweets were "pretty horrendous" and could be illegal, he added.

"There is quite a bit of legislation available to us - the Communications Act 2003, the Malicious Communications Act back in 1988 talks about offences of communications with an intent to cause distress, anxiety or are grossly offensive.

"And clearly some of this is either in or very close to that border."