MP details 'ruddy faced buffoon' abuse over skin condition

Conservative former minister Sir Edward Leigh explained he takes antibiotics every day as he has rosacea, which reddens and can deform the face.

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An MP was branded a “ruddy faced buffoon” despite his reddened face being the result of a skin condition.

Conservative former minister Sir Edward Leigh explained he takes antibiotics every day as he has rosacea, which reddens and can deform the face.

The Gainsborough MP insisted he is capable of dealing with the taunts but raised concerns over the impact of abuse on younger people.

He highlighted the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Skin, which he chairs, and said people surveyed had disclosed that their condition has affected their sleep, “intimate relationships”, and a small number said they had “contemplated suicide”.

Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate, Sir Edward said: “Only today in relation to something else I said on a completely different subject in the House of Commons, I’ve already got one email accusing me of being a ‘red gammon head’ and a ‘ruddy faced buffoon’.

“I take it with a pinch, very lightly, because I know I’m already old and ugly, but I think for young people this kind of personal abuse about their appearance is deeply upsetting and drives many people into deep psychological harm.”

He stressed how mental and physical health are linked and warned that people living with skin conditions continue to have “dire access” to psychological services.

Sir Edward added commissioners and health leaders must “rethink” how the NHS provides psychological care for people living with skin conditions.

Health minister Gillian Keegan thanked Sir Edward for raising his experiences and told MPs: “Mental health and ensuring people get the treatment they need will continue to be a priority for the Government.

“We are committed to achieving parity between mental and psychical health services, and to reducing mental health disparities.

“We know we’re not there yet but we are committed to that.”