Former Lioness and reality TV stars to join No 10 meeting on online safety

Reality TV stars and a former Lioness are among people expected to attend a meeting with Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan in Downing Street.

The event in Number 10 will see celebrities discuss online abuse as the Online Safety Bill returns to the Commons for its final stages.

New amendments to long-awaited legislation will come before MPs, with ministers stressing that the Bill will help crack down on online trolls.

Michelle Donelan
Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan is hosting the meeting in Downing Street (Aaron Chown/PA)

The planned law imposes new legal duties on big tech companies and service providers.

It comes amid concern about young people accessing pornographic content online, child sexual abuse in cyberspace, and the impact of harmful material on social media.

Georgia Kousoulou, a former star of ITV’s The Only Way Is Essex (Towie), will join ex-England international footballer Fara Williams and Love Island contestant Georgia Harrison for the meeting, with other famous campaigners also attending.

Ms Williams said: “I’m pleased to show my support of the amendments to the Online Safety Bill that will hopefully see more protection for women and girls online.

“It is clear that the online abuse that happens across social media platforms is something that needs to change and so this a very positive step towards creating a safer and more inclusive online environment for everyone.”

Pride of Sport Awards 2019 – London
Former Towie star Georgia Kousoulou said she wants her son ‘to grow up feeling safe’ (Lia Toby/PA)

Ms Harrison and Ms Kousoulou also backed the planned law.

“Like any mum, I want my son to grow up feeling safe,” Ms Kousoulou said.

Ms Donelan said: “The message from Government and these brave campaigners is clear: enough is enough – it’s time to pass our online safety law and crack down on the sick and cowardly trolls who prowl out of sight online.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder in our determination to protect our children and other vulnerable groups from a host of vile content that is currently all too easy for them to access.”

Asked on Sky News why the Bill has taken so long to go through Parliament, Ms Donelan said it is an “extremely comprehensive piece of legislation”, adding: “It’s a complicated area to address and what we’ve been doing over the last few years is actually making it stronger.”

Georgia Harrison
Love Island contestant Georgia Harrison is attending the meeting at No 10 (Ian West/PA)

The NSPCC welcomed the progress towards passing the Bill.

Chief executive Sir Peter Wanless called it a “landmark” piece of legislation.

“The Government and politicians of all sides have worked tirelessly with survivors of abuse, bereaved families and civil society to ensure the legislation results in a much safer online world for children,” he said.

“We are tantalisingly close to passing the Bill so its real-world impact can begin.

“Once MPs and parliamentarians have finished their work, it is over to tech companies to work with the regulator Ofcom and child protection experts to make sure their products and services do not put children at risk any longer.”