Glitch!UK Mentioned in Parliament
On 7th September 2017, newly elected Rosie Duffield Labour Member for Parliament for Canterbury used her Maiden Speech in Parliament during the European Union (Withdrawal) Debate to highlight online abuse.
It is a great privilege to make my maiden speech as part of this special and important debate. Many people—especially me—were completely stunned on the morning of 9 June to wake up and find that a new red dot had appeared on the previously entirely blue political map of Kent. I am still recovering from the shock, but am also determined to bring as much positive difference as I possibly can during my time in this place.
Before I speak a little more about my constituency, I want to mention the so-called “trolling” of my, mostly female, colleagues over the summer. I have already experienced a fair amount of trolling myself. This ranges from ill-informed, badly researched articles published as fact to unpleasant personal messages late at night, and vile, vitriolic insults from a small, but persistent, handful of activists from other parties posted online.
I acknowledge the efforts being made by the inspirational women in Parliament who are working hard to raise this issue and are fighting against it even though that usually results in much more abuse being thrown their way. I want to make special mention of my friend, the Newham councillor Seyi Akiwowo, who has endured, fought back against and now campaigns against the lowest form of racial abuse; and, of course, Labour’s shadow Home Secretary, who has shown incredible dignity and remarkable strength in the face of the most unacceptable and disgusting abuse over her decades in this House.
Groups such as Glitch UK* and Reclaim the Internet, led by my colleague my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) and many of my other friends and colleagues in this House, are deserving of our support. We must continue to fight against this and highlight the problem; it is entirely possible to engage in passionate political debate without resorting to name-calling, death threats and abusive language. Let us restore respect and manners to our online behaviour.
As the first woman ever to have been elected in Canterbury and as a single mother, I want to be a champion for equality not only for women, but for the disabled, people of every ethnic and racial background, the young and the old, the LGBT community and people of all faiths and none. It is a scandal that in this day and age there is still inequality in pay and discrimination in many forms. All such prejudice has no place in our society; I will challenge and fight it wherever I find it.
You can watch Rosie’s full speech on YouTube
It is quite befitting that Glitch!UK was mentioned during the European Union (Withdrawal) Debate given that it was a video of speech Seyi made at the European Parliament in Strasbourg that later went viral and the online abuse started. Thank you Rosie for highlighting online abuse in your Maiden Speech, supporting Glitch!UK and name checking us in Parliament.
*Cool fact: this means Glitch!UK is now in hansard- official Parliament document forever and ever!