BBC apologises after smearing partially deaf Wetherby MP on Twitter

The offending screengrab image of Elmet and Rothwell MP Alec Shelbrooke.
The offending screengrab image of Elmet and Rothwell MP Alec Shelbrooke.
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The BBC was forced to issue an apology to Wetherby’s MP Alec Shelbrooke after tweeting a picture of him appearing to be asleep during last night’s debate on the Trade Union Bill.

The image was retweeted hundreds of times, however the nation’s broadcaster was left red-faced after it turned out the partially deaf Tory MP was actually listening to a speaker.

The original tweet from the BBC Newsbeat account, which claimed the image of him “resting his eyes” had gone viral, has since been deleted and an apology has been posted, saying: “Very heartfelt apologies to @alecshelbrooke MP. He is partially deaf and was listening to a speaker.”

However, the public has reacted angrily, accusing the BBC of bullying Mr Shelbrooke and the image has continued to be shared widely on social media.

Mr Shelbrooke, who is the MP for Elmet and Rothwell, told the Wetherby News: “I’m all for a good laugh so I’m not taking it personally. I’m hard of hearing so was listening to the speaker in the bench when a mob of Jeremy Corbyn’s activists screenshot me blinking and started throwing abuse at me online. Ironically, I’d just made a speech about the bullying tactics of Labour and their trade union paymasters.”