The Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies has gotten himself into a spot of bother after a constituent contacted him via Twitter to complain that he had received no response from Davies on an email regarding the badger cull.
My email to my MP, Philip Davies, about today’s #badgerdebatereceived no reply. But then I didn’t expect a Tory to converse with a pleb
To which Philip Davies graciously replied:
@StoatsJackson Please don’t lie – I reply to every email on this and every other issue people contact me about. Pathetic.
Except he hadn’t.
After his outburst and a further exchange with the constituent, who insisted that not only had he emailed Davies via his website but had also received a confirmation email, Davies finally decided to do what he should have done in the first place, which was to check his emails.
Turns out he had been emailed by his constituent, and then was forced to reply with an apology for the delay, but not for calling him a pathetic liar, possibly because he didn’t realise it was the same person.
The constituent then, quite rightly, took to Twitter to take Davies to task and posted the email as proof.
This time Davies did reply, albeit in quite a mealy mouthed way given that he had called his constituent a pathetic liar:
@StoatsJackson I apologise and for the delay in doing so, but as I have demonstrated I always reply personally to all of my constituents.
By now the issue wasn’t whether Davies replied to emails or not, but calling his constituents pathetic liars. Understandably the constituent wasn’t particularly mollified:
. @PhilipDaviesMP Yes you have. You’ve also demonstrated what little respect you have for your constituents. Sincerely. A Pathetic Liar.
Far be it for me to take too much pleasure in seeing Davies caught out like this, but in the Shipley Labour Party we’ve known for some time that when people disagree with him he can snap quite suddenly and become quite rude with people.
We’ve received correspondence in the past from someone who was insulted by him in an email. He branded them ‘completely intolerant’ and said that their statement to him was ‘idiotic’ before signing off his email, seemingly without a trace of irony, with ‘best wishes’. There was plenty of explanation in between of why he thought that, and funnily enough it was in a similar situation where the original email was actually quite formal and not worthy of such a hostile and aggressive reply.
In fairness, MPs often take a lot of abuse, much of it uncalled for and it’s only human to snap from time to time (That said, Davies did bring a lot of opprobrium upon himself when he declared that disabled people should consider asking to work for less than the Minimum Wage because they can’t be as productive as an able-bodied person).
What makes this issue so ridiculous though is that the constituent was being pretty reasonable, albeit with an aside about being a ‘pleb’ in reference to the Andrew Mitchell ‘plebgate’ scandal.
It’s Davies’ reaction that is so over the top. The arrogant belief that someone couldn’t possible have sent an email and not received a reply led him to immediately brand that person a pathetic liar before he even went away to check his emails to see if what they were saying was true. What sort of mindset does that reveal about somebody?
It’s no wonder the constituent wasn’t satisfied with his apology, which Davies gave squeezed in a larger tweet repeating his earlier points.
The simple fact is that if the constituent hadn’t raised his concern, a move for which his MP branded him ‘pathetic’ and a ‘liar’, then he may not have ever received a reply,
It would have been far better if Davies had just issued a full and gracious apology for insulting his constituent so gratuitously, but he obviously couldn’t bring himself to do it and in the end issued a rather understated apology.
It’s very difficult being in the public eye like an MP is, so I have perhaps more sympathy with them than most do. If someone called me a ‘c#nt’, as thousands of people did to Davies when he made his comments about disabled people and the Minimum Wage, then I’d probably snap at some point too.
What is so daft about this incident is that it was so completely self-inflicted due to his arrogance and aggressiveness.
In many online debates he will often dismiss critics as fanatics, or ‘socialists’, or ‘the left’, even if they’re not making a party political point.
It was therefore, I admit, quite amusing seeing him get some sort of comeuppance after dishing out an insult one too many times.
Well played Mr @stoatsjackson, well played.
You can see the full Twitter exchange here.
The Telegraph and Argus has covered the story, which details the exchange here.
Philip Davies has also stepped in on Twitter, using the spat as an opportunity…to attack Labour for allegedly having no policies. No, I don’t understand it either. He then accused me of ‘flogging it for all it is worth‘, as if he was the injured party and not the constituent he called a pathetic liar!