Tory Brexiteer Stewart Jackson under fire after 'cretin' jibe at step-dad of sick child
Tory Brexiteer and former MP Stewart Jackson has prompted a barrage of criticism after lashing out at the step-parent of a child with cancer on social media.
Mr Jackson, who was a top aide to Brexit Secretary David Davis before Mr Davis quit the Cabinet over Theresa May's Chequers plan, responded angrily to a picture of a young boy being treated in Great Ormond Street hospital while wearing an EU flag.
He replied: “What a pathetic cretin”.
The boy’s stepfather posted the picture over the weekend, saying: “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."
The comments sparked a fresh row on the Conservative benches, with anti-Brexit Tory MP Anna Soubry branding Mr Jackson - who lost his seat at the 2017 election - a "bitter man gone badly wrong".
A Tory source told PoliticsHome: "The brains behind the DD operation is publicly attacking kids in hospital so I think the PM is going to be fine this week."
Labour backbencher Wes Streeting also rounded on the former MP, saying the conduct was “beneath him”.
Speaking on behalf of the People's Vote campaign he added: “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.”
It comes just a day after a row erupted in the Conservative party over anonymous quotes calling for Theresa May to "bring her own noose" to a showdown with backbenchers.
This weekend's newspapers included a string of violent comments about the embattled Prime Minister, with unnamed pro-Brexit MPs saying she was about to enter the "killing zone".
One the Sunday Times: “The moment is coming when the knife gets heated, stuck in her front and twisted. She'll be dead soon.”
Brexiteer backbenchers later rallied around Mrs May, however, with former minister Steve Baker publically slamming the briefings and calling for disciplinary action.
Labour’s Rupa Huq last night blasted both incidents as a "disgraceful" sign of the "toxic" debate around Brexit.
Mr Jackson stood by his comments however, telling HuffPost UK: "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."