“Panic button politics” leads to unprecedented number of MPs standing down

“Panic button politics” leads to unprecedented number of MPs standing down
18th September 2019 RYLadmin

Almost 6% of MPs have already having announced plans to stand down at the next election – even though it hasn’t been called – and a digital democracy campaign believes the sheer weight of online abuse received by MPs is to blame.

Joel Popoola, founder of the Digital Democracy project – which has developed an abuse proof app to allow electors and the elected to communicate safely and constructively – has termed the phrase “Panic button politics” after ex-Cabinet member Caroline Spelman announced that the “intensity of abuse” she has suffered has led to her wearing such a device and becoming one of the MPs standing down.

There are MPs standing down at the next election – 5.5% of the overall total – even though no date has currently been set.

31 MPs stood down at the last General Election, following it’s announcement by then Prime Minister Theresa May.

MPs to have already annoucned plans to quit the House of Commons at the next election include:

  • John Bercow, Buckingham
  • Kate Hoey, Vauxhall
  • Kevin Barron, Rother Valley
  • Paul Farrelly, Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • Roberta Blackman-Woods, City of Durham
  • Ronnie Campbell, Blyth Valley
  • Stephen Pound, Ealing North
  • Stephen Twigg, Liverpool West Derby
  • Teresa Pearce, Erith and Thamesmead
  • Norman Lamb, North Norfolk
  • Vince Cable, Twickenham
  • Conservative Independents
  • Alastair Burt, North East Bedfordshire
  • Guto Bebb, Aberconwy
  • Richard Harrington, Watford
  • Oliver Letwin, West Dorset
  • Justine Greening, Putney
  • Ken Clarke, Rushcliffe
  • Nick Boles, Grantham
  • Nicholas Soames, Mid Sussex
  • Richard Benyon, Newbury

Rate Your Leader, is a free app which allows voters to communicate directly with elected representatives in a way which makes abuse impossible, as well as rating them for responsiveness.

The app was developed by the Digital Democracy project, which aims to use digital technology to reconnect electors and the elected.

Founder Joel Poopola said:

“When the 2017 election was called, 31 MPs announced they would be standing down. We’re already up to 36 for the next election and despite the Prime Minister’s efforts it hasn’t even been officially called yet!

“Panic button politics is to blame. We’ve seen countless reports of politicians of all levels who feel so overwhelmed by the round-the-clock abuse they suffer that they lose the desire to serve their communities and even feel the need to constantly wear personal safety devices. This is no way to run a democracy.

“Social media offers incredible potential to bring people and politics together, but when it is not so much open to abuse as a conduit for it, we realised there was a pressing need for technology like Rate Your Leader which keeps communications civil and constructive.”

The Rate Your  Leader app is available from the Apple and Google Marketplaces. The app has a five star rating on the Google market, with one reviewer writing “This is the new level of politics…better communication of leaders with the electorates and accountability”.

An ever-increasing number of MPs, councillors, MEPs and Police & Crime Commissioners have already taken advantage of the free democracy app to stay in touch with the people who elect them and to get their message out to confirmed voters in their constituencies, helping them truly understand what matters most to the people who elect them.


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