Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has phoned Alliance MLA Anna Lo to offer her his personal support after she was targeted by racists.
Ms Lo, who over the years has been periodically attacked online by racists, came in for personal abuse after her comments about flags and murals along the Giro D’Italia route.
Today she received universal support from across the political spectrum, with political supporters and opponents alike denouncing those behind the abuse.
Ms Lo told the News Letter that she was “absolutely delighted by the reaction from the general public and from other parties”.
She said that Mr Clegg phoned her this afternoon as she was at a meeting to give his support.
“It was very nice of him to ring — I wasn’t expecting that,” she said.
The South Belfast MLA said that Mr Clegg had told her not to let the racists intimidate her.
“I’m really very heartened by the responses — it’s the right reaction to those thugs who sent vile, offensive and disgusting messages.”
In a joint statement yesterday the First Minister and Deputy First Minister condemned the abuse.
The ministers said that the comments on social media had been “disgraceful” and added: “We utterly condemn those who have directed racial abuse at Anna Lo, an elected representative who works tirelessly for all sections of her local community.
“Racial abuse is unacceptable on any level and these disgraceful and dehumanising comments are at complete odds with our vision of a shared and better future.
“We hope that the PSNI can find and prosecute those responsible for these despicable comments.”
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt raised the issue in yesterday’s meeting of the Stormont committee which scrutinises the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and UUP MEP Jim Nicholson said that those responsible “bring shame on Northern Ireland”.
SDLP MLA Alex Attwood said that the abuse had to be “unambiguously condemned”.