Thursday, May 15, 2014

MP condemns police for sending two officers to home of Twitter user who criticised Ukip

Blogger Michael Abberton, of Cambridge, was visited by two officers after he added to a mocked-up 'Ukip manifesto' poking fun at what makers claimed are the party's policies.

His local MP, Julian Huppert, has now expressed 'huge concerns' at his local force's decision to question Mr Abberton and demanded police chiefs explain their actions.

Photographer and Green Party member Mr Abberton used his Twitter account to re-Tweet an online poster which claimed Ukip wanted to, among other policies, 'scrap maternity leave' and 'raise income tax'.  He added links to party members' websites which he claimed backed up the supposed 'policies', although he admitted he could not find evidence for others.

Describing the visit on his blog, Mr Abberton wrote: 'They asked me to take it down but I said I couldn't do that as it had already been retweeted and appropriated, copied, many times and I no longer had any control of it  - I had to explain to one of the officers what Twitter was and how it worked.

'They said that they couldn't force me to take it down anyway.'

'I asked if I could tweet about the visit. The straight answer was "no", as this might appear prejudicial in light of the upcoming election and the police must appear to remain neutral.

'Incredulously, I said, "...but you must realise how this looks!" 

One shrugged, the other looked embarrassed.'

Cambridgeshire Police confirmed the visit but denied they had told Mr Abberton to delete his tweets.  A spokesman said: 'We were called with a complaint about a message on social media at about 12.40pm on Friday.  'Inquiries were made as to whether any offences had been committed under the Representation of the People Act but none were revealed and no further action was taken.'

The Lib Dem MP for Cambridge said: 'I have huge concerns about this issue because Mr Abberton had the right to freely express his opinion and I cannot see what law he may have broken.

The investigation has also been criticised by civil liberties groups, who fear police are unnecessarily criminalising incidents on social media.



Bird of Paradise said...

This is what its like to live ina socialists nation

Anonymous said...

Time the twitter universe was introduced to libel. Anyone retweeting is as guilty as the poster.