Theresa May's Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell says he 'regrets' replying to porn tweet

UK

Theresa May’s chief of staff has expressed “regrets” after it emerged he had replied to a graphic late-night tweet from a porn website.

Gavin Barwell responded to the post, which referred to a video including “two school girls” and their “mum”, at 9.21pm on Monday night.

The message was posted from the former Croydon Central MP’s verified account, which has more than 22,000 followers. His reply was blank but tagged users, many of them other explicit accounts, that were included in the original post.

The tweet remained online for more than 36 hours before being deleted when it was flagged by other social media users and journalist.

Mr Barwell lost his seat at the 2017 general election and was appointed as Ms May’s chief of staff shortly afterwards.

A No 10 source said: “Gavin Barwell replied to this tweet which was in his timeline, in error. He has deleted the reply and regrets the embarrassment this has caused.”

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The tweet Mr Barwell responded to was posted in March 2017

The post Mr Barwell replied to dates from March 2017 and was posted by a user called “twinkystar_69”. It was part of a Twitter thread promoting a number of explicit videos.

It is unclear how the former MP came to be viewing it, but is thought that Mr Barwell was not in Downing Street when he posted the message.

The incident is likely to cause embarrassment for the married father-of-three and for Ms May.

It comes just months after the Prime Minister’s deputy, Damian Green, was forced to resign amid allegations that hundreds of pornographic images had been found on his work computer and reports he had behaved inappropriately towards women.

This is not the first time Mr Barwell has been embarrassed by his social media use. In 2013, he complained that a Labour education announcement had appeared alongside an online advert saying “date Arab girls”.

However, it emerged that the advert was part of a Google system that places adverts based on the user’s preferences.

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