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Northern Ireland-born MP Hoey shames drunk into apology after abusive email

By Brett Campbell

A Northern Ireland-born Labour MP who received a sickening email from a drunken keyboard warrior has accepted his apology, but said she does not regret outing him on social media.

Kate Hoey received the message early on Thursday, which read: "I have never written to an MP before. I just want to say that you are a f***ing disgrace for helping to keep the Tories in power. I hope you die soon."

Earlier this week Ms Hoey sided with the Tories in crucial Brexit policy vote.

She shared a photo of the exchange on Twitter, which prompted an apology, also shared online.

"I apologise unreservedly for the email I sent earlier," the remorseful sender wrote.

"This was written late at night under the influence of alcohol - I should not have placed myself in front of a keyboard in those circumstances."

The former Sports Minister expressed surprise at how quickly the apology arrived.

"It shows that people don't really want to be exposed, so this has been a useful lesson for everyone," she said.

"People don't realise the consequences of this. Even if they are not serious, their behaviour can encourage more sinister threats and general nastiness."

Ms Hoey said she now believes exposing trolls could be the key to curbing online hate, adding: "If it stops him doing anything silly again it has been worth it."

It is the first time she has adopted the approach used by some parliamentary colleagues, including Conservative MP Anna Soubry, in highlighting abuse.

"Everyone deals with it differently," she said.

"I have had hundreds of nasty stuff sent to me over the years. I have a very thick skin and usually just ignore it, but this was particularly nasty so I thought I would do something.

"I just thought: 'How dare someone do this'.

"Twitter is beginning to pay more attention and take action against threats, which is making people be a bit more careful about what they say."

Some criticised Ms Hoey for sharing the sender's name and email in her tweet, along with the words "What a nice man!"

"Data protection?" wrote one user. "At least you're encouraging trial by Twitter - not acceptable."

But another wrote: "She is 100% right to call him out on his bad behaviour and expose him, zero sympathy but good that he has now apologised."

The pro-Brexit MP said that hateful words not only lower the tone of political debate but could encourage others to be "more deliberate" in verbal attacks.

"Sadly they have to be publicly outed before they realise the inappropriateness of their behaviour," she said. "This man only needed one or two people to tell him how dreadful he was and he seemed to understand it. I think his apology is genuine so I'll take him at his word and accept it."

Ms Hoey appealed to her followers not to send the offender any more angry messages.

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