SNP MP hounded by online trolls after voting against abortion in Northern Ireland
15 July 2019
Dr Lisa Cameron MP's pro-life views were partly shaped by her experience of two traumatic late-term miscarriages.
“One individual threatened to come over and ‘abort me’.
An SNP MP has been subject to vile online abuse and threats of being deselected as an MP after she voted against imposing abortion on Northern Ireland.
Dr Lisa Cameron, the MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, said her office had received nearly a thousand abusive messages since she voted against Stella Creasy’s amendment last week. Now she fears that activist bullies will oust her from the party.
“My staff have had over 900 messages to patrol - abuse, cyber bullying, calling me vile names and sending pictures of rape suggesting I don’t support rape survivors when in fact I helped many trauma survivors in my NHS work,” she said.
Calls to quit from party officials
Criticism of Dr Cameron has been led by Bill Mills, a former SNP convener in South Lanarkshire who now works voluntarily for party HQ. Commenting on a constituency Facebook site closed to the public, he stated that he had been “utterly disgusted” by the MPs actions. In a separate post he said:
“If Lisa Cameron was compelled to follow her conscience and reveal she disagreed with a fundamental policy of the party - having never disclosed it before, then she should quit her position as an elected representative of the SNP.
“As an approved party assessor in the party vetting process, were any potential candidate to reveal that they fundamentally disagreed with the convention on human rights and women’s right to choose regarding abortion; and that they would vote … to restrict the rights that women in Scotland (or elsewhere) currently enjoy - then I would recommend that their application to be a candidate for MP, MSP or councillor be rejected.”
Jim Edwards, the convener of the SNP’s South Lanarkshire Liaison Committee agreed, saying: “I’m 100% behind Bill (Mills) and withdraw all support for her.”
However, as is usually the case with votes on abortion, MPs were not instructed to vote one way or the other. Dr Cameron said: “It was a free vote, a conscience vote. I didn’t rebel or vote against the party whip. And yet now it’s virtually certain that abusive party activists will make sure I’m deselected and lose the job I love.”
Vile abuse of MP who suffered traumatic miscarriages
Dr Cameron’s views on abortion were partly shaped by her own tragic experience of undergoing two very late term miscarriages. She said: “I lost both those babies - they were much loved babies to me.”
However, she has received little sympathy from online abortion activists – or from the party’s leadership. “The attacks on me have been nothing less than vitriolic,” Dr Cameron said. “One individual threatened to come over and ‘abort me’.
“I tagged this to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to let her see what was being written.
“But I am sad to say that I have as yet received no response. I hope I will receive support from the party hierarchy soon.
“I’m getting all this abuse but no one in the party will call out the abusers.
“In a few short days my life has been turned on its head and it looks like I will be ousted. The situation is very serious.”
No support from leadership
Dr Cameron has written to the SNP’s chief Westminster whip Patrick Grady, who confirmed that it was a free vote and MPs could vote in line with their conscience, but made no mention of taking action over the abuse the female MP has been subjected to.
In her letter to Mr Grady, Dr Cameron said: ““If it is now incompatible to hold pro-life views and be an SNP MP, candidate, to pass vetting or be elected in any capacity to the SNP, then my position would invariably be untenable.
“I think it is a very poor day when tolerance only goes in one direction,” she went on.
“I am being told by local officials that voting according to my conscience on a free vote means I have no place being elected in the SNP. I find this outrageous but I have to say it is also extremely sad for Scotland.”
John Deighan, chief executive of SPUC Scotland, condemned the treatment of the MP.
He said: “It greatly troubles me that Abortion advocates have radicalised politics in such a way that they have undermined our democracy.
“The persecution of an elected politician for voting in a way they don’t like exposes the depth of their intolerance. It's a disgraceful and unacceptable position that has been deliberately cultivated.
“Vilification is now routinely used as a tactic by pro-abortion advocates to crush debate and invite hateful attacks on those with a differing opinion. Those who believe in democracy need to expose the culprits responsible and defend genuine democratic values.”
The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill is now being debated in the House of Lords, where several pro-life peers have tabled amendments to try and remove or neutralise the clauses that would impose abortion and same-sex marriage on Northern Ireland.