An associate solicitor who targeted three MPs online with threatening or abusive language has been fined by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Luke Holden, formerly with national firm Shoosmiths, agreed with the regulator to be fined £2,000 over a seven-month online campaign.

Until February this year, Holden operated a Twitter account in which he identified himself as a property litigation solicitor. He had posted a series of tweets targeted at MPs, a government adviser and their families. These included one message which incited harassment and/or abuse of the MP and his family, another which incited invasion of an adviser’s family privacy, and another which used derogatory and offensive language in respect of an MP’s child.

The SRA said that on another occasion Holden sent seven tweets which used threatening, derogatory or offensive language.

Holden told the regulator he had closed the account and admitted to failing to act with integrity and in a way that upheld public trust and confidence in the profession.

In mitigation, he offered an apology to the three MPs and pointed out that he had no previous history for failing to comply with regulatory obligations.

The SRA said the social media posts were offensive and inappropriate and had the potential to cause harm and distress. The tweets demonstrated a pattern of misconduct as they continued for seven months.

The nature of the misconduct was deemed high although the impact was low. The fine was set at £3,500 but reduced to take account of the mitigation. Holden must also pay £600 costs.