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Brandon Lewis reveals weight and dyslexia meant he was ‘easy target’ for bullies as a teenager


Brandon Lewis. NI Secretary of State. Photo credit: PA

Brandon Lewis. NI Secretary of State. Photo credit: PA

Brandon Lewis. NI Secretary of State. Photo credit: PA

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis has revealed that he was bullied for his weight and dyslexia as a teenager because he was seen as an “easy target”.

Mr Lewis encouraged others in similar situations to speak out on Tuesday, which is also ‘ Don’t Face it Alone Day’ – a national anti-bullying campaign day in the UK.

Brandon Lewis shared that he was subject to abuse from older children – and said bullying shouldn’t be seen as acceptable. 

Posting on Twitter, the Conservative MP wrote: "I was bullied as a teenager. I am dyslexic and was overweight - seen as an easy target. Older kids thought I was too stupid to succeed, too fat to be taken seriously.

"Bullying isn’t a harmless rite of passage or a part of the rough and tumble of school life. And it shouldn’t be an inevitable part of our political life either.

"It is never easy to talk about these things, even now. But today is Don’t Face It Alone Day. A day to #SpeakOutAboutBullying”

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He continued: "There is help available and by sharing your experiences, you can support others. Bullies don’t control how you feel, only we control how we feel and react. They are the ones who are weak, which is why they try to bring others down. 

"And if this is something you are facing right now - I promise it gets better. Those bullies who are desperate to make you doubt yourself will never win and they will never have the power to hold you back.

"I am a qualified barrister now, have owned and run my own business, been an MP since 2010 and am proud to be Secretary of State for Northern Ireland."

Many other politicians have also promoted the anti-bullying campaign day, with the SDLP’s Colin McGrath tweeting that “we all have a role to play to stop bullying”.

He added: "For those who are being bullied it is imperative that they #DontFaceitAlone. Today is an important day to #StandUptoBullying for all of us.”

Meanwhile in the world of sport, Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has called for a new social media platform to be set up as he criticised tech giants for failing to get a grip on bullying and “toxic behaviours”.

The former England footballer, who suffered racial abuse as a child, said he wanted to stop his daughters going through the same experience.

Mr Ferdinand made the comments at the launch of the Don’t Face It Alone initiative at No 10 Downing Street on Tuesday. 

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