Hove; MP Threatened On Twitter
9 August 2013, 17:49
A Conservative MP has called in police after receiving a death threat on Twitter for calling on David Cameron to speak out against Russia's anti-gay legislation.
Mike Weatherley, the MP for Hove and Portslade, East Sussex, said Twitter trolls should not be allowed to make threats while lurking behind their computers.
He wrote to Mr Cameron highlighting concerns about anti-gay laws passed in Russia ahead of it hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics, telling the PM that Britain "has a duty not to stay silent''.
But after the Pink News tweeted an article about Mr Weatherley's letter, a Twitter user with almost 1,500 followers replied, and included the words KILL WEATHERLEY.
The MP's office said the tweet has now been reported to Sussex Police.
Mr Weatherley said: "Twitter trolls cannot be allowed to hide behind their computers when making threats like this.
"There is absolutely no way that I will allow this intimidating kind of behaviour to change my stance on this matter, as I will continue to stand up for gay rights both in Russia and around the world.''
A Sussex Police spokesman said: "We have been made aware of a message on Twitter in which Hove MP Mike Weatherley is threatened. We are investigating the content and source of the message.''
The controversy in Russia was sparked after politicians in its lower house of parliament, the Duma, passed a law imposing heavy fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under 18.
It led to broadcaster Stephen Fry writing an open letter urging Mr Cameron to support moves to strip Russia of the Winter Olympics.
The threat against Mr Weatherley also comes after Twitter UK general manager Tony Wang posted a series of tweets recently saying abuse was "simply not acceptable'' on the site.
His messages came after the website clarified its rules on abusive behaviour amid a growing backlash over a series of attacks, including against a number of high-profile women.
These have included television classicist Mary Beard, Labour MP Stella Creasy and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.