Peterborough’s Conservative parliamentary candidate Stewart Jackson has today defended his decision to tell a woman in a gay marriage that he did not want to hear from her again.
Mr Jackson, who first became Peterborough’s MP in 2005, was heavily criticised on social media for his comments in an email message to constituent Laura O’Sullivan after she messaged him to say she would not vote for him.
But the politician said he stood by his remarks and that he was not going to be intimidated by “rude” people.
But Mr Jackson’s “don’t bother me” comment has triggered outrage on the social media site Twitter with many roundly criticising him.
Mrs O’Sullivan’s anger had been sparked by an election mailing from Mr Jackson asking for her vote but addressed to her using her maiden name.
She publicly revealed her outrage in a statement on her Facebook page.
She was not looking for a meaningful exchange of views.Stewart Jackson
She stated: “As he voted against gay marriage and had kindly left his email address at the bottom for responses I sent him the following message:
“You sent me a letter, I wish to inform you that it was sent to the wrong name, Hawes is my maiden name. As of last October I am happy to say I am married, And have therefore changed my surname to O’Sullivan.
“And as my Wife and I enjoying our rights to an equal marriage, something that you did not support we will not, in no un certain terms, be voting for you.
“Please never write to me again.”
Her statement added: “I received the following response:
“The feeling’s fully mutual.
“Please feel free to never bother me again.
Mr Jackson said today that he was not going to be intimidated by rude and aggressive comments from other people.
He said: “I stand by my comments.
“I am not prepared to be intimidated by this rude woman.
“There is a group of people who can’t accept that you can have a different view of same sex marriage.
“These people claim to be liberal but are pretty intolerant.
“She was not looking for a meaningful exchange of views.
“I should not have to take abuse from people like her on social media or anywhere else.
“A lot of people have said to me that they would have done the same thing.”
Mr Jackson added: “I did not make any comments about her sexuality or her family.”
Mr Jackson also pointed out that he received Mrs O’Sullivan’s email on Thursday - between the last sitting of Parliament and its dissolution on Monday.
He said: “At that time I was effectively a parliamentary candidate and had ceased to be an MP.
“But I would probably not have sent the comment if I had been at a normal sitting of Parliament.
“It goes without saying that as an MP I would seek to assist any constituent.”
But following Mrs O’Sullivan’s decision to make the exchange of messages public on Facebook, a wave of anger had quickly built up on Twitter.
@Gingeronstun tweeted: “What a way to kick off your election campaign.”
@KrystalSlim said: “Tory MP Stewart Jackson told a gay constituent to never bother him again. Stay classy, Stewie.”
Many users also claimed they had been “blocked” by Mr Jackson.