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DUP MLA Stalford apologises for liking 'joke' tweet on domestic violence

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Christopher Stalford

Christopher Stalford

Christopher Stalford's apology on Twitter

Christopher Stalford's apology on Twitter

Christopher Stalford

A DUP MLA has apologised after liking a tweet about domestic murder, posted at the weekend by a Belfast-based polling company.

Christopher Stalford's actions were widely condemned on social media after he liked the tweet by Lucid Talk, which referenced lines from a 'Carry On' film.

The tweet referred to a famous quote from the 1970 film Carry on Loving about running a marriage bureau in which a man's second wife died "by a fractured skull" because "she wouldn't eat her mushrooms".

LucidTalk has since deleted the tweet about the film, which was broadcast on ITV3 on Saturday afternoon, after initially dismissing criticism as "an 'over-reaction' to a joke".

South Belfast SDLP MP Claire Hanna was among those who weighed in on the debate, tweeting: "'Humour' about violence of this type perpetuates and enables it, and is demoralising to many trapped with abusers.

"It's hard to be wrong sometimes but you absolutely are here, in the original tweet and in attempting to dismiss criticism."

In response LucidTalk later tweeted: "We have said sorry and apologised, and removed the tweet.

"It's from a different era and shouldn't be relayed today - though I suppose you could also then ask the question why is ITV showing the film again."

Mr Stalford also tweeted to apologise saying: "I do not in any way minimise/trivialise violence in the home. It was a silly tweet to like. I'm sorry."

The South Belfast MLA declined to comment further when contacted, but a DUP spokesperson said: "No-one should make light of domestic violence. It is right the original tweet has been deleted and Christopher has apologised for 'liking' it."

A spokeswoman for Belfast Feminist Network said Mr Stalford had caused hurt to victims of domestic abuse and women generally.

"While it's disappointing that an elected representative made such an error of judgment, we are pleased that he has offered an apology," she said.

"It is important that we encourage a culture of zero tolerance towards intimate partner violence and abuse.

"Hopefully Christopher Stalford will put what he has learned into practice and work to rebuild the trust of survivors of domestic violence."

Mr Stalford's apology comes days after his party colleague Alex Easton was caught on camera shopping for shoes during a health committee meeting at Stormomt. Cameras in the senate chamber caught the North Down MLA on his laptop looking at a pair of shoes.

Mr Easton, who sits on the health committee, later apologised, saying it would never happen again and explained his shoes had been worn through and no shops were open.

Belfast Telegraph