Facebook snubs Cameron over Raoul Moat tributes

Facebook has rebuffed a call by David Cameron for the removal of tributes to the gunman Raoul Moat which have been left on the social networking site.

The Prime Minister condemned the praise being paid to the "callous murderer" yesterday and instructed Downing Street to raise its concerns with the company over the web page of the "RIP Raoul Moat You Legend" group.

But last night the site replied: "Facebook is a place where people can express their views and discuss things in an open way as they can and do in many other places, and as such we sometimes find people discussing topics others may find distasteful.

"However, that is not a reason in itself to stop a debate from happening. We have 26 million people on Facebook in the UK, each of which has their own opinion, and they are entitled to express their views on Facebook as long as their comments do not violate our terms."

Only last week the Prime Minister took part in a video conference call with Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Mr Cameron was urged by a Conservative MP, Chris Heaton-Harris, to contact Mr Zuckerberg again to ask the company to take down the webpage, which carried a "whole host of anti-police statements".

Mr Cameron told MPs that was a "very good point". He added: "As far as I can see, it is absolutely clear that Raoul Moat was a callous murderer – full stop, end of story – and I cannot understand any wave, however small, of public sympathy for this man.

"There should be sympathy for his victims and for the havoc he wreaked in that community. There should be no sympathy for him."

No 10 later indicated that an official would contact Facebook to express its dismay over the tributes to Moat, whose rampage ended with one death and the blinding of a police officer. Kelly Stobbart, the half-sister of Samantha Stobbart who was shot by Moat, echoed Mr Cameron's disgust at the Facebook tributes and the flowers left outside the killer's home.

"How would these people think if it was a member of their family that he done it to?" she told the BBC. "They wouldn't like it. They wouldn't be legend then, they'd be calling him all the names. How can someone who does that to an innocent person be a legend? It's just disgusting."

Three men were arrested yesterday on suspicion of assisting an offender in connection with the police investigation into Moat's week-long rampage. A total of 13 arrests have now been made.

Also in Prime Minister's Question Time, Mr Cameron increased the pressure on Parliament's expenses watchdog after he urged its staff to "get a grip" on their "overly bureaucratic and very costly" system.

He was cheered as he launched his stinging attack on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Ipsa, which was set up to help rebuild Westminster's reputation following last year's expenses scandal, has been besieged with protests from politicians. They have complained that the new system is hugely complicated, with forms taking hours to fill in, that calls to a helpline to advise MPs go unanswered and claims take a long time to be paid.

An Ipsa spokesman responded: "The new system is similar to the online expenses systems used by many businesses. As with other expenses systems used in public and private organisations, it requires an MP to type in the claim details and then submit them."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there