A HEREFORDSHIRE MP has faced criticism for a joke he re-posted on a social networking site.

MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire Jesse Norman retweeted a joke on Twitter on Friday about Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, who is on trial accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The joke read: “Roses are red, violets are glorious, never sneak up, on Oscar Pistorius.”

He has since deleted the tweet and apologised for any offence caused.

Mr Norman said: “There are two very different issues here – one is a lighthearted and ironic Valentine’s Day retweet at the expense of Oscar Pistorius.

“The other is the much wider and far more serious issue around allegations of domestic violence and the mistreatment of women.

“Locally, I take these issues extremely seriously.

“I was delighted that we were able to lobby the government successfully to
fund a rape crisis centre in Herefordshire in 2011.

“I met recently with the police superintendent in Hereford and we specifically discussed the under-reporting of domestic violence in the county, and his plans to address it. I also raised this issue at a meeting last month with the new police commissioner.

“But there remains far more work to be done on these issues, and I would be delighted to meet with West Mercia Women’s Aid to discuss them in detail.

“Needless to say the retweet was not intended to cause offence.”

But the joke caused a storm on Twitter.

John Prescott, deputy Prime Minister between 1997 to 2007, wrote: “Look what Eton-educated Tory MP Jesse Norman tweeted and deleted. Tipped to be Tory leader.”

He then added: “Roses are red, Tories are blue, in 2015 we’ll get rid of you.”

One user, WelshWallace, wrote: “He’s deleted the tweet now but for an MP to joke about someone being shot and killed is just beyond comprehension.”