MP comments on tweet during visit

Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps

Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps, brushed off criticism of a controversial tweet during a visit to Buckshaw Village this morning.

The MP went to Tiny Rockers play centre to celebrate the success of the new business.

It came just 14 hours after he put a message on Twitter highlighting the Government’s cuts to bingo tax and beer duty in yesterday’s budget announcement.

The tweet featured an image saying the cuts would help “hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy”.

It has so far been retweeted more than 1,700 times and received a host of critical responses from other Twitter users, who called it “offensive and patronising”.

But speaking to the Guardian, Mr Shapps did not seem concerned about the reaction.

He said: “We are proud to back hard-working people and the kind of businesses that form part of the community.

“Places like bingo halls do a lot for the community. We have halved the tax for bingo halls. They have been under huge pressure in recent years and we are pleased to help.

“It’s also a big distraction frankly for Labour, who don’t have anything positive to say and are trying to round on some individual aspects.

“Actually we are proud of what we have done.”

Afterwards, Steve Holgate, chairman of Chorley Labour party, demanded that Mr Shapps apologise for the tweet.

He said: “The tweet from Grant Shapps was patronising to say the least. The fact that the Tories seem to believe that hard-working people will now be happy because the Government has taken a penny off beer and reduced bingo tax just shows how out of touch they really are.

“People in Chorley are far more concerned about gaining access to work, the rising costs of energy and making sure their families are looked after.

“I think Grant Shapps and the Chancellor should apologise for this ill-conceived message and treat people with more respect.”