Pensions Minister Ros Altmann is having a very bad day
Social media can be dangerous and Twitter doubly so. It’s very public and that means that a reputation that has taken decades to build can be smashed in a matter of seconds when someone tweets the wrong thing.
Someone who may be regretting their haste on the social media network this morning is pensions minister Ros Altmann.
For any minister to say voting for Brexit would be the equivalent of overruling our leaders would be unwise, but for a member of the House of Lord’s it’s just plain foolish.
Unsurprisingly, commentators on Twitter were quick to criticise the minister for her blunder.
Most people were rightly irked that the comments had come from a peer of the realm. Head of Pensions Policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, Tom McPhail, pointed out that the prime minister had chosen to give people the right to vote on this issue, and highlighted the inconsistency of the statement coming from an unelected official.
Another frequent criticism was that Altmann had fundamentally misunderstood what having a referendum meant. Namely – that the British public had voted for a party that had promised a referendum, and would therefore rightly get one.
Telegraph journalist Tim Stanley was just one commentator who pointed out her mistake.
He was also quick to make sure people knew who she was.
But what has made people most angry is that Altmann seems to be arguing that people should follow their ‘leader MPs’ rather than that MPs should represent the public.
Most damning of all were the comments from Altmann’s former boss Iain Duncan-Smith, first published in Guido Fawkes.
Duncan-Smith said: “This is a very strange statement. The EU referendum is about the British people having a say over our future, yet a Government minister now seems to be suggesting that they should just obey their MPs – that voters have no right to their own opinions. I believe MPs are there to serve their constituents not, as Ros Altmann believes, to be served by them.”
Altmann has since apologised for the tweet, but that has done little to stem the public anger towards her.
The unfortunate minister has also come under fire today for a tweet comparing Brexit voters to children jumping out of a window.
At PI we’re interested in the thought that Altmann would be happy to let her children jump out of a window with protection. And more than a little intrigued as to what window jumping protection might look like.
All in all, not a great day for the pensions minister. You’d think it couldn’t get any worse, but the BBC have reported that Altmann has also been questioned today by Frank Field over allegations that she cancelled three separate meetings with BHS bosses who were looking to save the pension scheme.
When it rains, it certainly pours.