Dick Newby responds on Lib Dem peers and social media

As our Chief Whip in the Lords, I want to respond briefly to the article that was posted yesterday about our Peers and social media.

Firstly some facts – the Lib Dem group in the Lords has more Peers on Twitter than any other party or political group there, and between them they have over 100,000 followers. What they say online therefore is clearly reaching a lot of people. We also have a new Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LibDemLords)  which highlights the work done by our Peers.

Every week the Letter of the Lords is sent out – this is a email which highlights the work of the Peers both inside and outside the Lords (you can sign up here); it looks ahead to the following week and reviews the week that has just gone. It is an excellent way for anyone who wants to keep up with our work in the Lords in a very accessible way. It goes to parliamentarians and lobby journalists, as well as party members, local party leaders and other journalists across the country.

Some other specific suggestions were made in the article and I’d like to respond to some of that as well. We do already tweet as a team – the @LibDemLords account is very active and different Peers are on duty on different days and responsible for tweeting. They do, of course, also tweet on a personal level from their own accounts (which are all listed here).  Blogs and articles from peers are posted regularly in various places including Lib Dem Voice. We try to keep track of many of them on our Facebook page.

Trolling and bullying on social media is clearly a problem that affects  many in the public eye. We have regular conversations with members of the group who are affected by this, and offer support to Lib Dem Peers who are the target of misogynistic, racist and threatening messages over social media – as a number are on a regular basis. But even with this support, I am not prepared to criticise any individual who chooses to step away from social media having faced such abuse.

We have 108 Peers sitting in the House of Lords and just the one staff member who is dedicated to helping get our messages from the work we do in the Lords across (on all forms of media, not just social media). It is therefore impossible to get volume behind everything we do. But we are doing a lot, and we are constantly looking at how we could do more. The article rightly acknowledges the fantastic work that the Liberal Democrat group are doing in the Lords – and I would encourage everyone to help spread the word! But our social media and online presence is very clearly there and I would encourage you all to connect with us.


* Dick Newby is the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.

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