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  • Writer's pictureAmy Nickell

Securing Democracy: Embracing online voting to protect MPs in today's world

This afternoon I was invited on to Good Afternoon Britain with Emily Carver and Tom Harwood to debate Harriet Harman’s suggestion that MPs should be able to vote online due to a recent spike in threats and intimidation.

By its very nature, politics is, has been, and always will be, incredibly divisive, so it makes sense to me to protect our MPs as much as possible, and we now have the technology to make that possible.

While the problem has intensified recently, it’s far from a new problem and is an unacceptable but very real part of public life, so indeed, any measure to alleviate the pressure should be welcomed.

Mhairi Black resigned this year, citing: “Between media attention, social media abuse, threats, constant travel and the murders of two MPs, my loved ones have been in a constant state of anxiety for my health and safety.”

It also makes huge practical sense to decentralise power away from Westminster, saving travel time and accommodation costs, leaving MPs able to dedicate themselves to their primary concern – constituency work.

The Speaker has a duty of care to MPs safety, especially when framed by the murders of Labour MP Jo Cox and Conservative MP David Amess.

The discussion then splintered into a critique of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign protests outside Parliament, framing them as prompting Harriet Harman’s statement.

The threat of extremism is rising in the UK, but it’s simply inaccurate to characterise the majority of those protesting over the past few weeks as anything other than concerned citizens who feel unheard by the political class. Similarly, Just Stop Oil, as individuals, have never provided a genuine threat to MP safety.

The mere involvement in a protest, including those organized by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign or Just Stop Oil, does not automatically make individuals a threat to MPs.

The real threats to MPs often come from lone individuals, like the extremist who tragically killed Jo Cox. Knowing exactly where a political figure will be and when can be fatal in the wrong hands.

That’s why I am for remote voting, and I support Harriet Harman’s suggestion.

Anything else seems like clinging to tradition for the sake of it.

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