Oral Answers to Questions Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Cabinet Office

Oral Answers to Questions

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Excerpts
Wednesday 3rd July 2019

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:30 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman raises a very important issue, and I am sure the whole House will want to extend our sympathies to the families and friends of young people who suffer sudden cardiac death. He and the all-party parliamentary group on cardiac risk in the young have done very important work on this issue. I am assured by the Department of Health and Social Care that the independent UK National Screening Committee will carefully consider all the relevant evidence, and I know DHSC will study the committee’s findings when they are published in due course—it will look at the findings very carefully. This is an important issue, and we want to make sure we get it right.

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Nicky Morgan (Loughborough) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:30 p.m.

My 27-year-old constituent Kirsty Garrity tragically took her own life in September last year. After her death, her father found among her possessions a book called “The Peaceful Pill Handbook,” which she had bought from Amazon. In a letter to me, Amazon said:

“We believe that legislators, rather than retailers, are best placed to make decisions on what should and should not be legally available for public purchase.”

Does that not sound rather like Facebook, which recently said that it needs to be regulated because it cannot decide for itself what to put, and what not to put, on its platforms? Does the Prime Minister agree that businesses have a duty to think very hard about what they offer for sale and what they put on their platforms, and that they have a duty to behave with a moral imperative?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am sure we all want to send our deepest sympathies to Kirsty’s family and friends. We are determined to make sure that the UK is the safest place to be online, which involves tackling content that encourages suicide and self-harm. Working with the tech companies to get them to accept greater responsibility for the sort of material that is put out across their platforms has been a long-standing issue.

We have seen some tech companies take action to tackle the issue, and we want to ensure a more consistent response from companies to protect the safety and wellbeing of their users, especially those who are vulnerable. I know that the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Jackie Doyle-Price), who has responsibility for suicide prevention, is aware of this aspect of online content. She is deeply concerned, and she will be writing to Amazon about it.