Protester demands apology from ex-Tory MP for Twitter comment

A backer of a fresh Brexit vote who was branded a “pathetic cretin” for tweeting a picture of his stepson in hospital by an ex-Tory MP has demanded an apology.

Anthony Hobley called on Stewart Jackson, a former Peterborough MP and ex-chief of staff to David Davis when he was Brexit secretary, to say sorry after the comments sparked a social media controversy.

The incident began when Mr Hobley posted a picture of his stepson in hospital and said the child was disappointed to be missing Saturday’s “People’s Vote” march for a new Brexit referendum.

The caption read: “My stepson had an operation yesterday @GreatOrmondSt. He’s incredibly brave but gutted he can’t be at the #PeoplesVoteMarch today with his brothers & sisters. You can see he’ll be there in spirit & his brothers are saluting him with a dab!”

Mr Jackson replied to the post saying: “What a pathetic cretin” in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Mr Hobley said he wanted an apology for his stepson, stating: “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.

“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.

“Because comments like these from senior people in political life set the tone of political debate in our country and I believe harm politics in our country.

“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.”

Labour MP Wes Streeting, who is a supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: “Whatever your views on what’s gone wrong with Brexit, attacking the family of a child recovering from an operation in hospital is a new low.

“There is a vicious tone to much of our political debate today and that has been often been driven by Brexit supporters like Stewart Jackson.

“But this latest episode goes far beyond the usual rough and tumble of politics. Stewart Jackson should apologise to this boy and his parents.”