Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham calls for respect on social media platforms after homophobic and defamatory remarks

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham has hit out at what he calls the “level of aggression and abuse” he has received on his social media pages recently, and urged people to be respectful when debating politics.

The Tory MP, who has come under fire in recent days for supporting Boris Johnson’s leadership bid despite calling him for to resign when prime minister, made the statement on his Facebook page tonight.

He also criticised Labour councillors and ativists for “mobbing” others on his page.

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He said: “I have always welcomed political debate and discussion. Anyone who sees the comments on this page will know that not only are there various views represented but also that, where I can, I engage with the debate too. But over the past few weeks the level of aggression and at times abuse on this page has increased. This has seen me having block people for being personally abusive to me, for homophobic remarks, and for making defamatory comments.

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham
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“The page exists so that I can tell constituents what I'm doing in Westminster and Burnley, and share information about what I and this government are doing. Different opinions and debate on this are welcome, but the discussion has to remain respectful not just to me but to each other.

“I also want to be clear to Labour Party councillors and activists who mob anybody who has a different opinion to them - this page is not your broadcast platform. You have your own pages for that. If you try to use this page to attack me personally you will be removed. You wouldn't do it in person, so don't do it online.”

Labour’s Coun. Mark Townsend said: “It’s unacceptable that some people think it’s okay to abuse MPs online. This isn’t new, it’s been happening for years, and when it occurs it has to be called out as the current MP for Burnley has done.

“Regarding Labour councillors and activists behaving as a mob on his social media pages I have asked the MP for examples so these can be investigated. It should be remembered that local supporters of any other political persuasion should be able to comment in a respectful way on the MP’s views, as per any other constituent, as he is their representative in Parliament.”