Nadine Dorries has been called out for tweets she has posted in the past after complaining about social media discourse.
Speaking to the BBC, the culture secretary said people are afraid of being “cancelled” for expressing their views and that left-wing activists have “hijacked” social media, leading young people “who actually do want to engage” in serious debate to be frightened.
She said: “Sometimes I think we just need to tone down the condemnation and the judgement, and evaluate and engage a little bit more than we do. I think social media probably contributes a lot to this.
“People are afraid because of the amplification in the echo chambers of social media.”
After Kuenssberg had said she had spoken to an unnamed Tory MP who said Boris Johnson’s power was “evaporating”, Dorries said: “Laura, I very much like and respect you, but we both know, that text is ridiculous, although nowhere near as ridiculous as the person – obviously totally desperate for your attention – who sent it.”
In the Commons, Labour MP Jo Stevens said the exchange was “highly inappropriate” given one of Dorries’ roles is to oversee BBC licence negotiations and accused her of seeking to “influence editorial decisions”.
Dorries replied: “I did not rebuke Laura Kuenssberg, someone who is maybe the best in the business … Some members opposite seem to have difficulty understanding a composition of 240 characters. The tweet was completely misinterpreted, I was not rebuking Laura Kuenssberg and never would.”
Jo Stevens - The Secretary of State actually has the time to police the BBC's political editor's(Laura Kuenssberg)… https://t.co/pQQDR5P2Gw
Meanwhile, she has posted a series of tweets directed at LBC Radio presenter James O’Brien, including one in 2018 that read:
“I believe James O Brien of LBC fame is a Hate preacher, a liar, a misogynist, a UK hater & an apologist for Islamist atrocities. I also believe he is a bully who hides behind the Global/LBC name who condone his behaviour. I also believe he should be sacked. Plz R/T if you agree.”
The tweet has since been deleted.
In 2017 she said that “left-wing snowflakes are killing comedy”.
Speaking to the BBC, she stood by the comment. “I just said it first,” she said.