A Tory MP has told her constituent to ‘get a life’ after he questioned whether £94 a week was enough for statutory sick pay during the coronavirus.
Twitter user @ML1Hughes, who describes himself as ‘a reader, a wildlife gardener and obedient servant of a cat’, tweeted his local MP fearing that the government’s statutory sick pay scheme was not enough for those self-isolating from the coronavirus outbreak.
He innocently tweeted: ‘Hi @Pauline_Latham, is £94 a week SSP is enough to live on? How could you manage on it?’
But after several hours of silence, he finally received a response from the politician, which simply read: ‘Get a life’.
Her reply left Twitter users aghast at the abashed response.
‘Jesus wept, you are an MP,’ said Twitter user @muddydwarf. ‘You are meant to lead here, what a disgusting attitude to hold, but we shouldn’t be surprised that you hold such views.’
‘You’re an MP. This is disgusting,’ wrote Michael Bullock. ‘Take the concerns of ordinary people seriously for once.’
‘You should be ashamed of yourself for this comment,’ said Liz Anderson. ‘Please delete it immediately & try to think before you tweet.’
‘Can’t really get a life when the Tories are killing us via starvation wages and letting a virus tear through the population unhindered,’ replied @mfinnthepoet.
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‘As an elected MP wages and expenses paid by the people, when asked a polite question you are expected to answer with good grace, but you have just confirmed that this government are completely without empathy or understanding,’ posted @gailmarie1958.
‘I would say that was a valid question – the general public not worthy of your response? Aren’t you here to serve the public?’ said another.
The MP for Mid Derbyshire has yet to delete the tweet, but apologised for the response in a subsequent message.
‘I must apologise for the Tweet to a constituent over the weekend. At the time, I was in Spain in a state of distress having just visited my brother who is suffering from acute dementia. Very sadly, we could not bring him home to the UK because of coronavirus.
‘At this time of stress, I received a Tweet from what I perceived to be a keyboard warrior and it pushed me over the edge. I am very sorry I reacted so hastily.’
She has yet to answer whether she could survive on the £94 a week payments the government is making.
The issue of sick pay has been a focus for the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn whilst meeting the prime minister over the coronavirus outbreak.
He is pressing Boris Johnson to raise statutory sick pay in line with other European countries and to ban the eviction of tenants affected by the disease.
‘Jeremy Corbyn will ask the government to recognise this as the critical moment to invest in public services and to introduce urgent financial support for those affected by the coronavirus,’ a party spokesman said.