David Davis’ former chief of staff and prominent Brexiteer Stewart Jackson has been accused of trying to block all Remainers on Twitter.
The former Conservative MP made headlines after the People’s Vote march for commenting on a social media image of a boy in a hospital bed wearing an EU flag with the message: ‘what a pathetic cretin’.
The boy has been recovering from an operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital, so was unable to take part in the event. The image had been posted by his stepfather, Anthony Hobley, as a way to pass on his support for those who were marching.
Jackson’s response to the message was condemned by MPs from both Labour and the Conservatives, and the former MP later claimed his remark had been aimed at the stepfather, rather than the boy.
However, the row led many people on Twitter to discover they had been previously blocked by Jackson, because they were unable to see the message from him which had prompted the outcry. It has led to suggestions Jackson has been systematically blocking anyone he considers to be on the opposite side of the Brexit debate – even if he has never interacted with them on Twitter.
Those blocked by Jackson – who is quick to brand anti-Brexit campaigners ‘snowflakes’ – range from pro-Remain celebrities and New European writers to those who simply voted to stay in the EU.
Caroline Molloy tweeted: ‘Curiously I’m blocked by Stewart Jackson for some unknown reason, though unlike him I’m generally polite on Twitter and certainly wouldn’t call someone a ‘pathetic cretin’.’
Patrick Howse said: ‘Despite the fact I’d never heard of Stewart Jackson before I retweeted this, and have never interacted with him, he’s blocked me. Maybe ‘what a pathetic cretin’ was self-insight?’
Just checked. Stewart Jackson has blocked me.— Jay Rayner (@jayrayner1) October 23, 2018
Food critic Jay Rayner tweeted: ‘Just checked. Stewart Jackson has blocked me.’
Rupert Myers replied: ‘He’s a surprisingly sensitive soul – dishes it out well enough, but can’t take it.’
A Facebook page has even been created for those who have been blocked to share their stories.
Jackson does, however, still follow The New European on Twitter. When asked for comment on his blocking spree he declined to offer an explanation.
He was MP for Peterborough from 2005 until last year, when he lost the seat to Labour’s Fiona Onasanya.
He's a surprisingly sensitive soul - dishes it out well enough, but can't take it.— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) October 23, 2018
Me too! Can't for the life of me remember why, but now feeling incredibly validated.— Nick Norton (@OnlyForKoolKids) October 23, 2018
I'm blocked too, but for the life of me I can't recall any interaction with him. There's no think button in some brains are there? Unfortunately many without this button join political parties and because of it become influential.— Stephen Roberts (@Steve__Roberts) October 23, 2018
It's such a shame. I knew him in the early 90s as an ambitious young Tory candidate. A bit scattergun and expansive, but funny, sincere and capable of self-criticism. You'd have bet on him being the sort who ended up hosting HIGNFY, not saying/doing things like this.— Andy Darley (@rand0m) October 23, 2018
I had literally never heard of @BrexitStewart, the former MP called a hospitalised child a "pathetic cretin" before tonight but when I clicked on his profile turns out I'm blocked. Huh? How? Why? pic.twitter.com/tpZuEy2T81— Nathen Amin ?? (@NathenAmin) October 22, 2018
Why are we all blocked when most of seem never to have heard of him before tonight? pic.twitter.com/j7EBV4lw9d— Nathen Amin ?? (@NathenAmin) October 22, 2018