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Edwin Poots’ wife ‘genuinely upset’ over joke posted by UUP leader Doug Beattie


Doug Beattie

Doug Beattie

Doug Beattie

Glynis Poots, the wife of the DUP Agriculture Minister, was genuinely upset by a joke posted on social media by Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie, sources have said.

Mr Beattie deleted and later apologised for the Saturday evening post on Twitter, which included an imagined scene where he and Edwin Poots are in a barber shop and with a punchline that makes reference to Mrs Poots and a brothel.

But the DUP, describing the apology as “feeble”, said that if his remorse was genuine he would have picked up the phone and called Mr and Mrs Poots directly.

It is understood Mrs Poots was upset after being told of the post. Mr Poots did not comment last night.

“If he truly felt remorseful and understood the offence he caused to Mrs Poots, her children, Edwin and the wider family, he would have apologised to them directly,” said DUP deputy leader Paula Bradley.

“This is an appalling comment to make about anyone. To seek to score a political point against an opponent in this manner is not befitting a leader. For the comments to be about a woman not even in public life is a further indication of Doug Beattie’s default setting.

“This was an offence to all women at a time when parties are working to stop attacks on women, particularly on social media. It’s no laughing matter.”

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Simon Hoare MP, chair of the House of Commons NI Affairs Committee, retweeted Mr Beattie’s post, it emerged last night.

He deleted it after about 20 minutes.

He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Ulster Unionist leader drew fire on social media

Justice Minister Naomi Long said she was “genuinely shocked at just how casually misogynistic” the tweet was.

“It would have made many a 1970s comic blush,” the Alliance Party leader added.

After deleting the post and joke, which he said he did not come up with himself, Mr Beattie initially wrote: “Ok so my joke wasn’t to universal approval so as not to offend I deleted it.”

Early yesterday morning he posted again: “Last night I posted a joke — I introduced it as a joke. It was an attempt at humour nothing more.

“In no way would I intentionally offend anyone but it’s clear I have so it is only right I apologise for doing so. We can all make mistakes, my choice of joke was a mistake.”

He included a short video of a child looking extremely glum.

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