Sussex MP opens up about ‘vile abuse’ over Brexit

Mr Merriman speaking in Parliament. File photo SUS-181128-104325001
Mr Merriman speaking in Parliament. File photo SUS-181128-104325001

A Sussex MP spoke on Radio 5 Live yesterday (Tuesday, April 2) to explain how the stress of Brexit and abuse from some of his constituents has led to him losing weight.

Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, told Anna Foster how he had gone from a 34 inch waist to ‘just under a 30’.

Speaking on air, Mr Merriman said: “It’s purely down to what is going on. I’ve had a heck of a lot of abuse because of the way I voted on Monday. I’ve tried to explain how I voted and been referred to as the ‘Chancellor’s tea lady’, according to Leave.EU, who are actually trying to get me deselected.

“You try your best for your constituents and work really hard and you get this vile abuse.

“Someone off that ‘tea lady’ shout was talking about those involved in treason used to be taken outside, lined up and shot, now they are paid vast salaries.

“I gave up a much bigger salary to come here because I believe in public service.

“It’s important that we stand up for ourselves. If we can’t stand up for ourselves then we will never stand up for our constituents.

“Equally I do worry that MPs when they struggle, they are the last people who will say they are struggling because they want to be big, proud and representing 100,000 people.”

Mr Merriman told Radio 5 Live that he had ‘started seeing a counsellor’ this year.

He said: “I’ve realised I need to get proper control in my life so that’s a good thing. If I can recognise that and try to do something about it then hopefully other people can do so.”

The MP said he had to attend a funeral of a friend on Friday (March 29), the same day he had to be in Parliament to vote on Brexit.

Speaking on the programme, Mr Merriman added: “I don’t want people to feel sorry for us. I’ve been very cross about Parliament in terms of failing to reach a decision that we should be doing for people. But I want people to realise that at the end of the abusive email is someone, a human being, who has to read it, as well as staff who work so hard for us and are committed.”

After the programme Mr Merriman said people had ‘every right to feel frustrated by MPs’ failure to deliver’.

He said: “To pretend that the anger and vitriol about Brexit leaves me unaffected would be untrue. I have always conducted interviews in an open manner albeit this one flowed to a personal area which I had not intended to mention.

“I thought it important to be honest rather than hide. If that helps others to get to a better place then it will be worth it.

“The responses I have had across from across the constituency and country have been very kind. There is a huge amount of frustration at Parliament.

“I have expressed it myself and am not without blame. Ultimately, we are all better as a democracy when we engage, debate and work together.”