Louise Mensch Twitter trolls face prosecution, says police chief

Tory MP was abused after disagreeing that Rupert Murdoch was not fit to run News Corp

Column LAST UPDATED AT 10:03 ON Thu 3 May 2012

LOUISE MENSCH has hit back at the "misogynist bullies" who have been pouring bile over her for refusing to endorse the Culture Select Committee report which concluded that Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, was not a fit person to run an international company.

Now it seems some of the Twitter "bullies" could face police action. Stuart Hyde, chief constable of Cumbria, said the abusive tweets against Mensch were "sexist bigotry at its worst".

He warned that some of the messages fell within or came close to the line of existing legislation making it an offence to post sexist or racist messages online.

Mensch, a Tory MP and former chick lit novelist, went on the BBC Today programme to hit back at the Tweeters who have been hiding behind their sign-in names on Twitter to launch sexist attacks on her.

"I don't mind being called stupid, conniving, Tory or feminist. I thought it was worthwhile taking a view of the abuse women receive on Twitter. It is always sexual and violent. If someone is considered attractive it is sexual and violent fantasies."

"It is a question of calling the bullies out," she said. "A lot of it was not illegal. It was just immoral and misogynist. I was overwhelmed by the massive response I got on Twitter. It is people who feel free to throw racist and sexist abuse."

Mensch has collected all the abusive Tweets on her own 'favourites' section on Twitter so that people can help to stamp it out. Many are so abusive, they could not be aired on the radio. One said: "I'd love to hit Louise Mensch in the face with a hammer."

Many were retweeted as a protest against the misogynists by leftwing tweeter, Dan Hodges, who said the offenders could not call themselves 'progressives' while holding such views.

Tory grassroots campaigner Tim Montgomery took to Twitter to defend Hodges's actions after some confused users thought that his reposting of offensive tweets meant he supported them.

Although Mensch said the tweets were not illegal, Police Chief Constable Hyde said they may have breached the 2003 Communications Act and the earlier Malicious Communications Act: "We are taking people to court. Whilst this is the social media, it is important people should know that they are responsible and if they do not use it responsibly they will face the full force of the law." · 

Disqus - noscript

Good grief!  Name calling is now an imprisonable offence.  A little less sensitivity and a lot more policy on things that really matter would be good...

Yes...well only if it's racist or sexist. Insulting people in other equally upsetting but non-racist, non-sexist ways is OK.

Louise Mensch, sweetypops who can't be top Tory totty /media whoring yourself then pretend to go all shy and retiring violet. Wo-man up, front 'em down.

The trouble is, I can't be sure if you're being serious, or sarcastic! :)

Section 4 in essence makes it an offence to offend anyone. Similarly, a racist offence is anything someone deems to be "racist". Add to that the ASBO, and you have a portfolio of Labour legislation which have criminalised free speech and made it possible to criminalise someone on someone else's word. 

You got up to write that? Very sad. Quite nasty aren't you?

Fortunately for Ms Mensch, she is sufficiently media savvy to realize 'that there is one thing worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about!

If the police really went after these sorts of posts/posters ... the CiF pages of the grauniad would be a sad, empty place.

I totally agree that this ought to be regarded as a criminal offence. Any sort of death threat is unacceptable and hate speech should not be limited to blacks and gays - why are Christians excluded? I have personally been subjected to the most appalling violent and obscene abuse by cyber-trolls who all hide behind their anonymous identities. 
The man below who calls it name-calling is not making a sound analysis. 

Presumably they'll soon be starting similar action against the trolls who constantly pour vile sexist abuse over Harriet Harman on sites like Guido Fawkes?