- A senior Brexiteer called the stepfather of a hospitalised child a “pathetic cretin” in a bizarre Twitter outburst.
- Stewart Jackson, a former Conservative MP who was later a special adviser to former Brexit Secretary David Davis, has refused to apologise for his tweet despite backlash from numerous MPs.
- Conservative MPs Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen described Jackson as “bitter,” “nasty,” and “unkind.”
- The stepfather is think tank CEO Anthony Hobley, who tweeted a picture of his stepson holding an EU flag while recovering from surgery in a hospital.
- Hobley told Jackson to apologise on Tuesday afternoon. “I am calling on him to apologise today, not for me, but for both my family and the tone of political debate in this country,” he said.
- MPs have been urged to tone down their language after Conservative MPs used analogies about Theresa May being knifed to death and using a noose.
LONDON – An influential pro-Leave Conservative who was an advisor to former Brexit Secretary David Davis has been described as “nasty” and “bitter” after calling the stepfather of a hospitalised child a “pathetic cretin.”
Stewart Jackson, an ex-Conservative MP who was later a special advisor to Davis during his time as Theresa May’s Brexit minister, has been told to apologise by MPs from parties including his own for his Twitter outburst.
Jackson tweeted “what a pathetic cretin” to Anthony Hobley, CEO of think tank Carbon Bubble, who tweeted a picture of his stepson in a hospital recovering from surgery and holding an EU flag.
Hobley said his stepson was “gutted” that he was not able to attend the recent People’s Vote march last Saturday, which called for another referendum on Brexit.
Hobley told Jackson to apologise on Monday afternoon, for “family and the tone of political debate in this country.”
He explained that his stepson had not been able to participate in the People’s Vote march due to a broken collarbone, and that his tweet was “a sweet gesture to make him feel involved” in the protest.
Hobley said: “After I put his picture up on Twitter, most of the comments were really nice but I got a few from extreme quarters which I had to block
“Then I saw this from Stewart Jackson. I had not really heard of him before and I was surprised to find out he is former Conservative MP and adviser to David Davis when he was running the UK’s Brexit negotiations.”
He added: “Whatever our views on Brexit we need to talk about the problems of Brexit and the case for a People’s Vote by debating the facts and issues, not with schoolyard abuse.
“I don’t believe people honestly worried about the future of our country should be subject to trolling by senior political figures, especially not when it involves children.”
Jackson told HuffPost that he was referring to Hobley, not the hospitalised child, and refused to apologise for the now-deleted tweet.
He said: “I just think politics is in a low place when Remainers use their kids in this way. Invading the child’s privacy whilst in hospital to make a political point on the People’s Vote.”
“Not what most decent people would do,” he added.
MPs from across the political spectrum publicly condemned Jackson’s outburst and called on him to apologise.
Conservative MP Anna Soubry tweeted: “When any scrap of humanity is overwhelmed by ideology @BrexitStewart [Stewart Jackson] is a bitter man gone badly wrong,” while her fellow Tory, Heidi Allen MP, described her former parliamentary colleague as a “pathetic, unkind and nasty man.”
Labour MP Wes Streeting responded to Jackson’s tweet with “this is beneath you.”
His colleague Rupa Huq posted: “Absolutely disgraceful from Tories at every level, chilling talk of knives and nooses re: PM from her own MPs and now this defeated one insulting a little poorly kid.”
Huq was referring to remarks that Tory MPs unhappy with May’s handling of Brexit made anonymously in newspaper articles published over the weekend.
In the Mail on Sunday, a Conservative MP was quoted as saying May should “bring her own noose” to the next meeting of Tory MPs. Another told the Sunday Times that “the moment is coming when the knife gets heated, stuck in her [May’s] front and twisted,” adding the prime minister will “be dead soon.”
MPs condemned the violent language and urged each other to tone down the language they use.
Staunch Brexiteer Steve Baker said the Conservative MPs who used these words had “thoroughly disgraced” themselves and called for the whip to be removed from them. Labour MP Yvette Cooper described the remarks as “misogynistic” and unacceptable.
Addressing the anonymous quotes on Monday, May told MPs: “It is incumbent on all of us in public life to be careful about the language we use. There are passionate beliefs on this subject… but whatever the subject, we should all be careful about our language.”
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