Party’s ‘favourite’ lawyers go after holder of anonymous account that pokes fun at right-wing Labour MP – but letter raises questions about data protection and it’s not the only one
The holder of an anonymous account satirising right-wing Labour MP Wes Streeting has received a sinister letter from party lawyers accusing him of harassment and threatening him with unspecified action if he does not ‘cease and desist’.
The satirical premise of the ‘Women4Wes’ account is that it is run by women who love the Ilford right-winger, but in reality it is run by a constituent of the MP who remains anonymous for obvious reasons – and runs the account from an email address set up specifically for the purpose, to avoid tracking.
But that hasn’t stopped Streeting’s lawyers – a firm favoured by the Labour right – or agents from tracking him down at his home address and sending him the threatening letter. W4W published the letter in a tweet demanding to know how they got hold of his sensitive personal information and warning Streeting and his lawyers that he has no intention of ‘ceasing or desisting’:
It’s not Streeting’s first attempt to intimidate the ‘W4W’ account holder – who, remember, is one of Streeting’s constituents. In May, he sent a direct message threatening the use of lawyers if all mention of him was not deleted.
Such threatening letters are a recent but not brand new phenomenon. A similar one was sent to – and correctly ignored by – the activists who run the ‘Not the Andrew Marr Show’ left-wing YouTube channel.
But tracking down individuals to their unpublished home address has sinister undertones – and has been done to others:
Just as sinisterly, Ms Mitchell’s tweet saw an apparently coordinated attempt to ‘doxx’ her, with several respondents posting what they thought – wrongly – was her home address in replies to the Twitter thread. As she pointed out, her real address is not public so they had dredged up an old one.
The full letter is shown below:
Wes Streeting has form when it comes to using lawyers to try to intimidate critics into silence or compliance. In 2018, Skwawkbox revealed that Streeting had left Labour’s first black woman MP Diane Abbott ‘shell-shocked’ by shouting in her face in front of shocked onlookers in a parliamentary corridor, after she made a Commons speech he didn’t like.
Streeting posted tweets calling the article a lie – and had his lawyers send a letter to Skwawkbox demanding a retraction and threatening legal action if this site did not roll over.
In response, Skwawkbox’s lawyers simply spoke to the various eyewitnesses, obtaining further evidence about his actions -and told Streeting that if he thought he had a case in court he should bring it on. He did not, instead resorting to a complaint to regulator IMPRESS – who also found no inaccuracies in the article.
The owner of ‘Women4Wes’ is taking a similarly uncompromising line. He told Skwawkbox:
I’ve received 5+ messages alone saying they have been using this exact firm against dissenting ex members, or even current members.
Let’s just say if Wes wants to start a war with me, he’s picked the wrong guy.
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