A Labour councillor has apologised for tweeting that work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith was a ‘murderer’ after a woman apparently committed suicide because of the bedroom tax.
Stephanie Bottrill from Solihull blamed the Government’s controversial bedroom tax for her death in her suicide note.
Aylesbury Vale district councillor for the Southcourt ward, Michael Beall tweeted: “So it’s official. #IDS is a murderer. Would I be on trial if I forced someone to pay money they havent got so they kill themself.”
He later tweeted: “#bedroomtax #Atos #IDS Legacy of the murderous Tories. Not to forget crimes against #NHS.”
Questioned about the tweets, Mr Beall said he stood by his comments, but Labour said he has now apologised.
The party said in a statement: “The Labour Party campaigned against the unfair bedroom tax and will continue to do so, however we do not condone language of this nature and Councillor Michael Beall has apologised.”
Aylesbury MP David Lidington said the comments took the debate over the tax to a ‘ridiculous extreme’.
Mr Lidington said: “I suspect the Labour Party leadership will be a little embarrassed by that type of language.
“I think it’s wrong for democratic politicians of any party to use that kind of abusive language.
“I hope when Michael reflects on that he’ll probably regret using those terms.
“It signifies a lack of confidence in the argument to resort to using that sort of language.”
Mr Beall earlier told the Bucks Herald: “If he’s (Mr Duncan Smith) upset by it then it’s one of those things.
“If I was forcing somebody to pay money they haven’t got and they killed themselves I would be arrested, but governments get away with it.
“The way I feel about the bedroom tax is that it’s forcing people over the edge.
“They’re hitting the poorest the hardest and it’s just wrong.”
The tax reduces housing benefit entitlement for each bedroom that is deemed unnecessary using the government’s criteria.