Tories pocket £72,000 from web giants May con­demned for spread­ing ter­ror on­line

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW GRE­GORY Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor an­drew.gre­gory@mir­

THERESA May has been branded a “com­plete hypocrite” for ac­cept­ing £72,000 from web giants af­ter at­tack­ing them for fu­elling on­line ter­ror.

The Daily Mir­ror has learned Google paid £32,500 for a six me­tre-square stand at the Tory Con­fer­ence which opens to­mor­row in Manch­ester.

Sal­man Abedi used videos from Google­owned YouTube to help to build the bomb that killed 22 in the same city.

The Tories also pock­eted £36,000 from Mi­crosoft for a stand plus ad­ver­tis­ing, and £3,500 from Ama­zon for a full-page ad in the con­fer­ence hand­book.

Ear­lier this month Mrs May – who yes­ter­day vis­ited Bri­tish troops in Es­to­nia – made a speech at the UN and vowed to fine firms like Mi­crosoft and Google un­less they re­moved ter­ror­ist ma­te­rial within two hours of it be­ing posted.

And her gov­ern­ment has also be­gun talks with Ama­zon about sell­ing items on

its web­sites that could help ji­hadis. The rev­e­la­tions raise se­ri­ous ques­tions about the PM’s com­mit­ment to tack­ling ter­ror.

Last night Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Ca­ble said: “It is com­pletely hyp­o­crit­i­cal for the Con­ser­va­tives to ac­cept money from com­pa­nies they have con­demned in the most colour­ful terms. You have to won­der if they will now pull their punches when deal­ing with th­ese com­pa­nies.”

He added: “Theresa May ac­cused so­cial me­dia giants of help­ing spread ‘poi­sonous ma­te­rial’ that ‘warped young minds’.

“Yet here the Con­ser­va­tives are pock- et­ing the cheque. Now com­pa­nies like Google will know that next time Theresa May cre­ates a lot of noise they can sim­ply ig­nore her.”

The Mir­ror has seen a 15-page brochure list­ing prices for busi­nesses to ap­pear at or spon­sor the Tory con­fer­ence. In it party chair­man Sir Pa­trick McLough­lin writes: “The Con­ser­va­tive Party Con­fer­ence is the largest po­lit­i­cal con­fer­ence in Europe.

“Its scale and im­pact gives busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions a unique op­por­tu­nity to reach a vast num­ber of del­e­gates.

“We of­fer the fol­low­ing ser­vices to each ex­hibitor: Min­is­te­rial vis­its from se­nior mem­bers of cabi­net.”

It is un­der­stood Google, Mi­crosoft and Ama­zon also ei­ther ap­peared at or sent rep­re­sen­ta­tives to Labour’s con­fer­ence.

But crit­ics pointed out leader Jeremy Cor­byn had not spent the sum­mer at­tack­ing web giants over ter­ror.

Google said: “We’re at­tend­ing the con­fer­ence, as we did Labour’s, to dis­cuss dig­i­tal skills and on­line safety. And like other ex­hibitors, we paid for a stand.”

Ama­zon said it had a pres­ence at both Labour and Tory con­fer­ences.

It added that its sub­sidiary, Ama­zon Web Ser­vices, would be in Manch­ester to ed­u­cate peo­ple about cloud com­put­ing. Mi­crosoft de­clined to com­ment. At least a thou­sand of­fi­cers and ex­tra armed po­lice will be on duty to­mor­row as two demos converge on the con­fer­ence. Air­port-style se­cu­rity checks will form part of the £2 mil­lion se­cu­rity pack­age and del­e­gates will also be ad­vised to hide badges when out­side a “se­cure zone”.

UN­DER FIRE PM meets troops yes­ter­day

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