A backbench Tory MP has been blasted after he re-tweeted a tasteless joke about Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius – just one day after the Paralympic champion shot dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire and member of the Treasury Select Committee, re-tweeted: “Roses are red, violets are glorious. Never sneak up, on Oscar Pistorius. Done. I’m here all week.;))”
The 50-year-old MP – who has been tipped to be future Tory leader – quickly deleted the tweet but not before it sparked fury amongst other politicians.
The tweet, originally posted by user Claire Jeffery, was re-tweeted by Mr Norman on February 15 – less than 24 hours after the gold medalist gunned down his model girlfriend.
Former deputy PM John Prescott launched a scathing attack on Mr Norman.
He tweeted: “Look what Eton-educated Tory MP Jesse Norman tweeted and deleted. Tipped to be Tory leader.”
He then added: “Roses are red, Tories are blue, in 2015 we’ll get rid of you.”
Mr Norman attempted to play down the row, saying: “There are two very different issues here – one is a light-hearted and ironic Valentine’s Day retweet at the expense of Oscar Pistorius.
“The other is the much wider and far more serious issue around allegations of domestic violence and mistreatment of women.
“Locally, I take these issues extremely seriously.
“I was delighted that we were able to lobby the government successfully to fund a rape crisis centre in Herefordshire in 2011.
“I met recently with the police superintendent in Hereford and we specifically discussed the under-reporting of domestic violence in the county, and his plans to address it.
“I also raised this issue at a meeting last month with the new police commissioner.
“But there remains more work to be done on these issues, and I would be delighted to meet with West Mercia Women’s Aid to discuss them in detail.
“Needless to say the retweet was not intended to cause offence.”
Other twitter users responded with fury. One, called WelshWallace, said: “He’s deleted the tweet now, but for an MP to joke about someone being shot and killed is just beyond comprehension.”