Tory MP condemned for unprompted Twitter attack on woman’s mental health

Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith standing in a suit and blue tie against a grey background

A Tory MP has been widely criticised for a tweet attacking a woman after she thanked the Samaritans for offering mental-health support at Glastonbury.

Brendan Clarke-Smith lashed out at political commentator Tan Smith, who goes by Supertanskiii on Twitter, calling her a “vile internet troll” after she posted about her mental health.

Describing her experience, and thanking a Samaritans volunteer, Smith wrote: “I love Glasto but it’s a battle of endurance, especially for those with severe ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms, but no hope of help due to the Tories decimating the NHS.” 

She added that the chat with the mental-health charity volunteer “made such a difference.”

Clarke-Smith, the MP for Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire, responded by tweeting: “Vile internet troll in personal issues shock. Cares little for the welfare of others, however, when spouting her foul-mouthed bile on Twitter. Excuse me for playing the world’s smallest violin.”

He then doubled down on his comment, adding to Smith: “Why not try deleting your Twitter account? You’ll be a lot less angry and feel a lot better about yourself.”

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The Conservative Party told PinkNews they would not be commenting on the issue but the MP was lambasted online for his response, which targeted Smith due to her anti-Conservative stance.

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His tweet was condemned by other Twitter users and Smith herself, who explained that she had started criticising the Tories online after “my friend took his own life due to Tory Covid negligence and NHS cuts”.

Following Clarke-Smith’s comments, she added: “It’s not trolling to call a c*** a c***.”

Smith later went on to say that while she’s happy to “razz Tory MPs online”, his comments had actually caused “severe distress”.

Celebrities including Carol Vorderman and LBC presenter James O’Brien added their voices to those criticising Clarke-Smith, while veteran Labour MP and privileges committee chairman Chris Bryant called for the tweet to be removed.

“This really is out of order. Mocking someone talking about mental-health support from the Samaritans,” Bryant said. 

“Brendan Clarke-Smith, I suggest you take this down.”

Another commenter tweeted: “I’m sure what you meant to tweet was: Samaritans volunteers do an incredible job, willing to offer vital support to any one of us experiencing a mental-health crisis… unlike my government who have been relentlessly cutting mental-health services for the past 13 years.”

Clarke-Smith has continued to comment on the issue, criticising fellow MPs who share Smith’s post.

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Lashing out at John Mann, who retweeted a news article on the tweet, Clarke-Smith said: “Nice that our so-called independent advisor on anti-semitism’s first instinct is to share posts defending a foul-mouthed internet troll.”

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