THE internet has transformed our lives. Whether you're booking holidays, keeping in touch with friends, working, studying, or even looking for the love of your life it's hard now to imagine how we managed before those magic letters 'www' came into our lives.

But there's a dark side to the online world.

Once upon a time, kids who were being bullied at school could escape to the sanctuary of home. Now their tormentors can pursue them from the moment they wake up in the morning to the moment they go to bed at night.

At Westminster I'm working on a Bill – the Online Safety Bill – which aims to make us all safer.

We are trying to work cross party to make it as effective a piece of legislation as we can.

And we've been calling witnesses to help us. Some of their testimony has been harrowing.

We've heard from a father who told us that his wee girl was encouraged by trolls to kill herself to escape from her bullies. Tragically, she did just that.

We also discovered that some people send flashing images to those living with epilepsy in order to trigger seizures which might kill them if they're standing on a station platform or beside a busy road.

Disinformation is the scourge of the online world.

During the pandemic, countless people worldwide have been persuaded that Covid is a hoax or that the vaccination is dangerous rather than the lifesaver we know it to be.

The Russian regime is a leading bad faith actor online. It actively interfered in the American presidential election and the Brexit referendum.

Its army of trolls and bots toil daily trying to persuade us that civilians gassed by the regime in Syria or killed by Russian shells in Ukraine are really just actors playing dead for the cameras.

I know from my MP mailbag how disturbingly successful these disinformation campaigns can be.

The online internet giants do very little to stop the disinformation, bullying and trolling. Facebook, TikTok and Twitter pretend they are concerned, but they rarely enforce their own guidelines.

This allows the human traffickers, child molesters and animal torturers to behave with impunity.

The Bill raises complex moral issues. How do we reduce content that is damaging, but not illegal? How can we tackle disinformation without chilling freedom of speech?

We heard from the footballer Rio Ferdinand about the racist abuse that plagues players and their families online. It often comes from anonymous accounts.

So, should we ban them? And how would that impact those living with domestic violence who need to keep their identities hidden as they seek advice and support?

A major concern of mine is that the Bill as currently drafted gives the UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries too much power.

Many Tory MPs agree, and I hope to enlist their support to reduce her proposed power to direct the 'independent' communications regulator Ofcom.

The Bill aims to save lives. If we get it right, it will be a transformative – world leading - piece of legislation. Watch this space.