Election 2015 England

Peterborough candidate Stewart Jackson criticised over 'stupid' email exchange

Laura O'Sullivan (left) and her wife wife Jess Image copyright Other
Image caption Laura O'Sullivan (left) emailed Stewart Jackson after he wrote to her seeking support

An election candidate has faced criticism on social media for telling a woman in a gay marriage that he did not want to hear from her again.

Peterborough Conservative Stewart Jackson sent the response to constituent Laura O'Sullivan after she messaged him to say she would not vote for him.

Social media consultant Sue Llewellyn said the message was "stupid".

Mr Jackson has been unavailable to comment on the exchange.

Image copyright BBC Photoshot
Image caption Stewart Jackson said he was out canvassing and unavailable to talk when the BBC tried to contact him

Mrs O'Sullivan wrote in her email to Mr Jackson that she had married in October.

"As my wife and I enjoying our rights to an equal marriage, something that you did not support we will not, in no uncertain terms, be voting for you," she said.

"Please never write to me again."

He emailed her back a few hours later, saying: "The feeling's fully mutual. Please feel free to never bother me again."

Ms Llewellyn said Mr Jackson's response was "extremely ill advised".

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Twitter users said they had been blocked by Stewart Jackson after retweeting Mrs O'Sullivan's exchange

She said people needed to be aware that anything they wrote on social media or via email could be circulated to a wider audience.

"People are still making mistakes every day," she said. "Too many people write something and press send before thinking about it.

"Everything you say online is public or permanent."

'Good for you'

Paul Bernal, lecturer in IT media law at the UEA Law School, said easier access to politicians had changed the balance of power.

"It allows for the constituents to turn the tables on the politicians and they need to have more sense," he said.

"It doesn't mean you don't speak your mind, but you need to have the right thoughts in mind.

"It will show up the idiots, and this, frankly, is idiotic."

The BBC contacted Mr Jackson's office, which said it had been told about the email exchange and advised contacting Mr Jackson directly.

Mr Jackson said he was out canvassing and unable to discuss the matter.

One user on Twitter said Mr Jackson was using a "strange approach to drumming up support", while another said it showed he had "contempt" for Peterborough's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters.

However, former Conservative MP Louise Mensch said: "Good for you Stewart; MPs don't have to respond to insults with forelock-tugging."

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