UPDATE: MP Tim Loughton defends Twitter row with Worthing resident
CONSERVATIVE MP Tim Loughton told a resident to ‘stop whinging’ after she expressed her disgust over his election victory on social media on Friday morning (May 8).
The Twitter exchange took place hours after he had swept to victory in East Worthing and Shoreham with a majority of nearly 15,000.
Mr Loughton told the Herald this morning he had responded to ‘stand up for my constituency’, which he felt had been rubbished by Georgia Knight, the resident in question.
Miss Knight said she was shocked by his response.
She wrote to the MP: “So angry and disgusted that Worthing remain a Tory town. I live in a town that fears change. So nothing ever gets changed.”
Mr Loughton responded: “Have you enquired about a house exchange? Would be happy to help.”
Miss Knight hit back, stating she could not move because it was unaffordable thanks to a Tory Government.
The MP then said she should ‘stop whinging’, saying ‘Worthing is a fantastic place to live and can do really well without you.’
The spat was retweeted numerous times and picked up by some of Mr Loughton’s political opponents, including Worthing Green Party.
Defending his responses, Mr Loughton said: “Firstly I agree that Miss Knight, if a constituent, has every right and indeed expectation for her MP to listen to her concerns properly. That is how I engage with my constituents and encourage and welcome it.
“However, she has not sought to engage my views. She has not written to me directly even by direct Twitter. She has instead sought to trash and caricature the Conservative Party and Worthing on social media.
“What I do not accept however is that someone should make fatuous and potentially damaging comments about a town in my constituency, put them on social media aimed at me and then start complaining when those comments receive a robust response.
“Some people seem to think they have a right to be rude or abusive towards a politician and expect him to roll over and take it like a punch bag and then cry foul if they dare to respond in kind.”
In response to Mr Loughton’s comments, Miss Knight said: “I was shocked because I wasn’t expecting that reaction. If anything I love my town and love living by the coast.
“To say I was trash-talking Worthing was unfair. I don’t like the people it is governed by. There’s a difference. I don’t feel like my tweet to him was a personal attack.
“I wouldn’t mid if he wanted to get in contact with me and discuss it over the phone.”
Mr Loughton said Worthing had long suffered an image problem but felt significant progress had been made.
He pointed to hopes for Teville Gate’s redevelopment at long last, alongside businesses relocating to the town.
“I make no apology for standing up for my constituency and my constituents robustly,” he added.