The call follows the Tory MP for North Devon failing to apologise for her remarks on Friday (23 Oct) evening. The MP had taken to Facebook to comment on generous local businesses providing free school meals. She said "I am delighted that our local businesses have bounced back so much after lockdown they are able to give away food for free, and very much hope they will not be seeking any further government support".
In a social media poll, almost two and a half thousand people have indicated the MP should resign, with hundreds more across other petitions. Specifically, over 2,000 people have put their name to a change.org petition calling for the MP to step down. The Liberal Democrats have been calling for an apology from the recently elected MP, but locals have expressed that sorry isn't good enough. Now, the Lib Dems call for her resignation. Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for North Devon, Alex White, says "Saxby must go". Further, North Devon Liberal Democrats understand the MP's team have been in touch with local news groups. Statements from the groups allude to them being asked not to allow posts about her recent blunder, which was deleted around ten minutes after being posted from her personal account onto local Facebook group 'North Devon News'. Comments on the stifling of the story has seen some locals saying they are being "silenced", with others calling it "censorship".
On Saturday, the office of Conservative MP Selaine Saxby released a statement which said:
"The portrayal of my recent comments on social media, out of context, does not accurately convey my views. I, of course, deeply regret any offence which may have been caused". Many have since argued that this is an expression of regret, and not an apology.
Now Alex White, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for North Devon, is calling for her to go:
"Her position has become completely untenable. When thousands of people are responding to her on social media, it's clear she has lost local support. It is clear that the hospitality industry is rightly appalled and I struggle to see how schools and care settings can be asked to work with an MP who so obviously doesn't believe in free school meal extension. In some parts of North Devon, 1 in 3 children live in poverty - her comments are an insult not only to inspirational local eateries, but to parents and children across this constituency. This Tory MP has let down her constituency beyond belief. I really think she needs to consider the viability of her position against a backdrop of thousands of outraged constituents. In my opinion, she has proved not to represent the opinions of North Devon as she is elected to do and therefore, Saxby must go."
A spokesman for North Devon Liberal Democrats commented:
"We've asked the Tory MP for an apology seven times. She hasn't taken that opportunity once and I think that tells the people of North Devon everything they need to know. Meanwhile, we've compiled a list of eateries in North Devon stepping up to provide free school meals when she stepped back - we'd like to take this opportunity to thank them from the bottom of our hearts. We've called for an apology from Saxby, now we're calling on her to consider her position."
North Devon Liberal Democrats, the main opposition in the constituency, which was formerly held by Sir Nick Harvey, are calling on Selaine Saxby to resign.