Tory Brexiteer Stewart Jackson urged to apologise for ‘trolling’ stepdad of hospitalised child
The stepfather of a hospitalised child has demanded an apology from Tory Brexiteer Stewart Jackson after the ex-MP called him a "pathetic cretin".
Anthony Hobley tweeted an image of his ill stepson wearing an EU flag in his hopsital bed saying he'd been “incredibly brave but gutted” that he could not attend the People’s Vote rally which saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets of London over the weekend to call for a second Brexit referendum.
The post provoked a furious response from former MP Mr Jackson, who served as chief of staff to former Brexit secretary David Davis.
He fumed on Twitter: “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.”
Mr Hobley has now called for the ex-Peterborough MP to apologise for the “trolling” remarks.
“After I put up his picture on Twitter, most of the comments were really nice but I got a few from extreme quarters which I had to block,” he said in a statement for the People's Vote campaign.
“Then I saw this from Stewart Jackson. I had not really heard of him before and I was surprised to find out he is a former Conservative MP and adviser to David Davis when he was running the UK’s Brexit negotiations.”
He added: “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.
“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.”
Mr Jackson has now deleted the tweet, but has so far resisted calls to apologise, telling Politico: “I think it’s awful that people with extreme views on Remain like this parent should invade a sick child’s privacy to make a political point.”
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".
Labour backbencher Wes Streeting said the remarks were a “new low”.
He added: “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.”