Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long has said that she accidentally liked a Tweet mocking loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson for having a speech impediment.

Mr Bryson was engaged in a debate with several Alliance Party representatives on the social media platform on Sunday after he criticised the party and said they were siding with nationalists on major political issues.

During the debate Mr Bryson was mocked by trolls with one making light of a speech impediment. This Tweet was then liked by the Alliance leader.

Mr Bryson said that he was not surprised that Mrs Long had liked the “abusive” Tweet.

However the Alliance leader said that liking the Tweet was an accident and apologised to Mr Bryson for any offence caused,.

“Jamie, I would never mock your speech – ever. What you say is fair game: that’s politics. How you say it is not,” Mrs Long said.

“We’ve argued many times and not once has it ever descended to the personal on your part or mine.

“I hope you’d acknowledge that and accept the honest explanation offered.”

Mrs Long reiterated her apology to Mr Bryson.

“If I’m wrong, I apologise. It was accidental, not intentional but if it has caused any hurt, upset or offence to Jamie or anyone else, I am absolutely sorry for that,” the East Belfast MLA said.

“I would never mock anyone for a disability or how they look. Anyone who knows me, knows that.”

Mr Bryson said that many people who “do genuinely have speech impediments will have been deeply upset” by the incident.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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