More than 3,500 people have signed a petition calling for the resignation of Rob Wilson, the MP for Reading East and the Minister for Civil Society, after he told a constituent not to be a "bad loser" the morning after the election.
On Friday morning, the photojournalist and Reading East constituent Lynda Bowyer tweeted at Wilson that homelessness in Reading had risen by 700 per cent under the coalition government and queried what the Conservatives would do to address this.
Wilson’s reply on Twitter was: "Don’t be a bad loser."
His comments were picked up on by others and a petition calling for Wilson’s instant resignation was started on the website of the campaign group 38 Degrees, which had been signed by more than 3,500 people by Monday lunchtime.
The petition says Wilson’s response to Bowyer was unacceptable and "could even qualify as gross misconduct seeing as he is a representative elected by the public and paid for by the public".
It says: "This level of arrogance and open disdain for the very people he represents is completely unacceptable and his job should go to someone who will take it seriously and who will treat his constituents with the respect they deserve."
Wilson this morning sent an email to Bowyer saying he had misread her tweet and replied in haste after having been awake for 30 hours.
A statement issued today by Wilson also said: "I have known Lynda Bowyer for a number of years as an activist journalist who has contributed her views about government policy on a number of occasions.
"It was in her capacity as a journalist that I responded to her tweet. I continue to address her concerns as a constituent by email. I will continue to take up the issue of homelessness with Reading Borough Council, as I have done on various occasions over the last 10 years."
He said he thought that people in Reading East knew that he had worked hard to help homeless people in the constituency and had run a campaign lobbying the council for a night shelter. In the election there was a swing from Conservative to Labour of 2.09 per cent in Reading East and Wilson's majority was 6,520.
It is not yet clear whether Wilson will continue as Minister for Civil Society under the Conservative government. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Cabinet reshuffle continues today.