Nick Ferrari apologises as Francois swears in internet trolls rant ‘Sad little b*******!’

Mark Francois discusses internet trolls and threats against him

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Mark Francois appeared on LBC where he doubled down on calls to remove internet anonymity in the wake of Sir David Amess’ death. The Conservative MP has been vocal about the abuse many politicians face online and told host Nick Ferrari about his own experiences with death threats. But Mr Ferrari was forced to apologise after Mr Francois chose to repeat a sweary assessment of internet trolls he heard from a police officer during a training session.

Speaking on LBC, Mr Francois was asked by Mr Ferrari to share his experiences with online abuse.

He replied: “Well I have had death threats during the whole what I call the battle for Brexit.

“But I’m by no means alone in that, I think many MPs don’t obviously always talk about this easily.

“But if you press a lot of MP many of them will tell you that they have had death threats from people.”

Mr Francois then explained he and other MPs were given training to identify and understand people who are internet trolls.

He added sociologists and psychologists held a popular seminar where they revealed the “archetypal” social media troll.

The Tory backbencher said they typically were young, male, living with parents and have difficulty forming relationships.

He concluded: “And then at the end, you know, the copper summed it up.

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“He said basically, ladies and gentlemen, these are sad little b******* who spend their life in their bedrooms, online, or making love to the person they like most.”

Mr Ferrari apologised for the “industrial language” but supported Mr Francois who was clearly passionate about Sir David’s death.

Mr Francois’ tribute to Sir David in the House of Commons on Monday was one of the more notable speeches given during the special session.

During the tribute, Mr Francois recalled Sir David’s anger at the “toxic environment” he and his colleagues had to work in.

He told the House: “In the last few years, David had become increasingly concerned about what he called the toxic environment in which MPs, particularly female MPs were having to operate in.

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“He was appalled by what he called the vile misogynistic abuse which female MPs had to endure online and he told me very recently that he wanted something done about it.”

Mr Francois then demanded the Government takes action to deal with the abuse MPs and others have to face on a day-to-day basis.

He said: “I suggest that if we want to ensure that our colleague didn’t die in vain, we collectively all of us pick up the baton, regardless of our party and take the forthcoming Online Harms Bill and toughen it up markedly.

“So let’s put, if I may be so presumptuous, David’s law onto the statute book, the essence of which would be that while people in public life must remain open to legitimate criticism, they can no longer be vilified or their families subject to the most horrendous abuse, especially from people who hide behind a cloak of anonymity with the connivance of the social media companies for profit.”

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