Carla Lockhart: Support after my online abuse shows human side of politicians

Carla Lockhart said the online abuse would not break her
Carla Lockhart said the online abuse would not break her

DUP Upper Bann election candidate Carla Lockhart has said she has been “overwhelmed” by the support from political rivals after she spoke out against online trolls.

The MLA faced a torrent of Twitter abuse based on her appearance but has vowed that the abuse “will not break me”.

In response, political rivals from the SDLP, Alliance Party and UUP have expressed solidarity.

Mrs Lockhart told the News Letter the response shows the “human side” of politicians.

“We will differ immensely on ideology and political policy but we can debate in a respectful manner. I’m not behind the door in giving my political opinion. But I would never, ever want to offend anyone – particularly about how they look,” she said.

“It shows the human side to everyone, that they recognise that this needs to be called out and it needs to stop.

“If we’re talking about future generations and what would encourage them to get involved if they’re going to be criticised about their appearance – particularly young girls.”

She also said there was a responsibility for politicians to use responsible language.

“I think we all have to lead by example, particularly in our language and how we address people,” she said.

“We’ve got to remember that these are all human beings and they deserve to be treated with respect.”

Amongst those who expressed support for Mrs Lockhart were Alliance leader Naomi Long and the UUP leader Steve Aiken.