The Conservative minister who flicked a middle finger at protestors in London has defended her actions saying “she had reached the end of her tether”.
Education minister Andrea Jenkyns made the obscene gesture to crowds outside Downing Street on Thursday but has failed to apologise.
In a defiant statement released on Saturday, she said had simply “stood up for herself”.
She wrote: “A baying mob outside the gates were insulting MPs on their way in as is sadly all too common.
“After receiving a huge amount of abuse from some of the people who were there over the years, and I have also had seven death threats in the last four years.
“Two of which have been in recent weeks and are currently being investigated by the police, I had reached the end of my tether. I responded and stood up for myself.
“Just why should anyone have to put up with this kind of treatment? I should have shown more compsure but am only human.”
The member of the European Research Group was an backbench MP when she made the gesture on Thursday but, as a long-term Johnson loyalist, has since been promoted to the cabinet.
Upon her appointment, one wag tweeted screenshots of her actions on Thursday: “Can’t wait for you teach our children good manners”, they said.
Her statement came after Senior Tory MP Mark Spencer, the Commons leader and former chief whip, said he does not believe the gesture was “the right thing to do at all”.
Asked if it is acceptable, he told BBC Breakfast: “No, I don’t think it is, to be honest. I don’t seek to condone that at all.”
Mr Spencer added: “Andrea will have to … justify that for herself. But I do understand emotions were running pretty high and they were pretty raw on that day. But I don’t think that was the right thing to do at all.”
Pressed on whether Mr Jenkyns should retain her new role, amid the ministerial merry-go-round of the past few days, the Commons leader said: “That’s not my decision.”