Pro-Brexit MEP criticised for sending 'intimidating' tweets to BBC reporter

Louis Staples
Friday 27 July 2018 11:45
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IMAGE:(GETTY)

Since the EU referendum and the 2016 US election, it’s fair to say that political discourse has taken on a new tone, with relations between portions of politics and the media often fractious.

But while most manage to maintain an atmosphere of basic respect, this cannot be said for everyone.

Independent Member of European Parliament Janice Atkinson has been accused of trying to "intimidate" a BBC journalist on Twitter.

Atkinson, who was elected in 2014 as an MEP for the South East of England, pressed BBC senior reporter Megha Mohan for her salary details and qualifications.

It was recently announced that Mohan will begin a new role at the BBC World Service in September 2018. She will become the BBC’s first global Gender and Identity Correspondent, reporting on issues concerning women, sexuality and race. When Twitter users questioned Atkinson’s motives for asking for details of Mohan’s salary and qualifications, she specifically highlighted her objection to Mohan’s appointment, accusing such a role of “pandering to minority issues”.

She went on to tweet that “many of us” find Mohan’s new role “divisive”.

Speaking of divisive, Atkinson describes herself in her Twitter bio as a “conservative Brexiteer”. Her header photo shows her smiling next to Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who was found guilty of inciting racial discrimination in 2016, and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Atkinson is one of the very few politicians to be expelled from UKIP for “bringing the party into disrepute” after an undercover investigation filmed her chief of staff apparently asking for an inflated invoice.

Her website describes her as a “leading member of the new populist right which believes in Brexit, President-elect Trump and a new European order”. It also boasts that she was “the only female British politician to back Donald Trump from the beginning of last year’s US presidential campaigns”. In a recent blog post, she writes: “Hello my US cousins, I wish the UK had a leader like your president”.

Aside from her duties as an MEP, she has also written a book called Migrant Crime Wave: EU Cover Up Revealed. In the 24 hours alone she has tweeted apparently linking migrants to rape crimes, with no accompanying evidence. Other highlights from today include retweeting a Tweet which labelled Gary Lineker a “smug lefty moaning tw*t”, before stating that she plans to boycott Walkers Crisps, presumably because of their partnership with the pro-EU former footballer.

She is also a vocal Tommy Robinson supporter, posting pro-Robinson content on her website since the far-right campaigner was imprisoned earlier this year.

Prominent female journalists including Julia Rampen of the New Statesman and Barbara Speed of the iPaper expressed concern at Atkinson’s conduct.

While other Twitter users called out Atkinson’s remarks relating to minorities and threw support behind Mohan.

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