Susanna Reid 'wants a slap', says Conservative Euro MP candidate
A POLITICIAN has been accused of advocating violence towards women after sending a tweet asking if anyone would want to slap BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid.
Deborah Dunleavy, who is standing as a Conservative MEP for the North West in 2014, was watching hit BBC1 show Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday when she posted an update on Twitter asking: “Does anyone else just want to slap Susanna Reid...”
The tweet, which could be seen publicly, prompted a backlash from activists across Bolton, who accused the mum-of-three of condoning domestic violence.
Mrs Dunleavy has since deleted her Twitter account.
Labour councillor for Crompton Sufrana Ismail, who works with women who have been victims of domestic violence, said the tweet was not acceptable for someone running for European Parliament.
She said: “I was shocked that this wasn’t a personal conversation, but an actual message from Mrs Dunleavy to 733 people and organisations who were following her.
“In an age when violence against women is denounced by politicians from all parties and closely associated with domestic violence, I found this message offensive and inappropriate.”
Mrs Dunleavy stood against MP David Crausby in the race for the Bolton North East seat in 2010.
Growing up she attended St Brendan’s RC Primary School in Harwood and later Mount St Joseph’s Grammar School. She now lives in Cheshire.
Mrs Dunleavy said the tweet was an off-the-cuff remark, and was “astounded” that people thought she was supporting violence against women — adding that she herself has experience of an abusive relationship.
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She said: “I sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by my comment — it was suppose to be a flippant comment about reality TV.
“Following my tweet I felt intimidated and threatened by a posse of Labour activists who started to attack me online, which is why I deleted my account.
“I’ll never go back on Twitter — not when there are aggressive people like that on it who started to bully me online. It’s not worth the upset to my family.”
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