Democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of association: Threats to MPs Contents



The threat level

The impact of threats

The response of the authorities

The need for a co-ordinated response

Social media and online threats and abuse

Role of political parties

The wider impact on all those who take part in the democratic process

1 Democracy and human rights

Democracy as a precondition for human rights

Restrictions on ECHR rights

Other relevant ECHR rights

Limitations on Art 10 and 11 rights

The effect on democracy of the failure to protect rights

2 What is happening?

Sources used in the report

The role of an MP

Current threat level

Threats and abuse


Release of private information

Involvement of MPs’ families

Harassment within political parties

Impact on MPs’ staff

MPs’ expectations of public scrutiny

Effects of abuse on engagement and democracy

3 Security at Westminster and beyond

Parliamentary security: who does what

Within the Palace of Westminster

Metropolitan Police responsibilities

Local police forces


Diagram of security responsibilities

Data gathering

Policing around Parliament

Statutory Framework for protests and similar activity near Parliament

Personal Security

Local policing

Role of the CPS

Funding security measures - IPSA

4 Communications, social media and other media

Limits on communication in general

Social media

Impact of online abuse

Online anonymity and impunity

Can Internet abuse be dealt with by police action alone?

Setting rules for online content

Regulation and self regulation

Report and take down

The future of regulation

5 Political parties and abuse

During election periods

Outside election periods


Conclusions and recommendations

Annex: FOI data showing increase in crimes against MPs

Declaration of interests

Formal minutes


Published written evidence

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

Published: 18 October 2019