Writing in this week's Redditch Standard (January 20th), Rachel said:
“We voted on and debated a number of new laws this week in Parliament, but I want to focus on the Online Safety Bill and why this is a vital piece of legislation.
“As a mum of four kids in their 20s, social media was in its formative years when they were teenagers. We were yet to see where these new apps and forms of communication would take us. All these years later, now we know the risks unregulated social media platforms pose to children and young people.
“And now I’m a grandmother, I want to make sure my granddaughter grows up in a country which is the safest place to go online, and that’s why I fully support the Online Safety Bill.
“As your MP, I’m supporting this legislation to protect your children and grandchildren too. They are at the forefront of my mind as we debate and vote on these new laws.
“Before I set out why I believe this Bill must become law, there are concerns about the impact this Bill will have on free speech. The Government has listened to these concerns and that’s why it made several changes to the Bill, such as removing the existing ‘legal but harmful’ measures, which could have inadvertently stifled free speech. These measures have been replaced with new duties which strengthen requirements on major platforms to adhere to their terms and conditions about content moderation.
“Now to set out why I support these new laws. To put it simply, we’re making what is illegal in the real world illegal online. To me that’s common sense.
“That’s why the Online Safety Bill will update the criminal law on communications offences, bringing in new offences of cyberflashing, intimate image abuse, encouragement of self-harm, false communications and threatening communications.
“And there will be tough penalties for social media platforms that fail to protect the public. They will need to answer to the independent regulator, Ofcom, which will have the power to fine companies failing in their duty of care up to 10% of annual global turnover.
“I hope you can see that this Government is doing what is necessary and right in order to protect your children and grandchildren online.”