The grieving family of a young mum killed in a brutal attack have hit out after her name was removed from a Parliamentary tribute – at the request of South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.
Melissa Liddle, 23, was stabbed to death by partner Anthony Ross on Mother’s Day last year at their home.
Her name was meant to be one of 120 female victims read out in the House of Commons on International Women’s Day by Labour MP Jess Phillips.
But Melissa’s loved ones were left fuming when her name was left off the list – and then shocked to be told it had been done so at the request of their own MP.
Melissa’s mum Tracey and stepdad David Keighley contacted the Gazette to express their anger at what happened.
We contacted the office of Ms Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, who confirmed she had acted on the guidance of her North-East colleague.
She said: “I believed I was acting in the best interests of Melissa’s family, after speaking to Mr Keighley’s MP, Emma Lewell-Buck, she asked me not to use Melissa’s name as she understood that in the past the family had not wanted any publicity.
“If that’s not the case, then I’m very sorry – I certainly didn’t want to see Melissa or any of the other 120 women forgotten.”
However, Melissa’s family said they had never been contacted or consulted by Mrs Lewell-Buck on the matter.
When the Gazette contacted Mrs Lewell-Buck, she emailed a statement claiming the family had “no issues” with Melissa’s name not being read and criticised ourselves for running a story against their wishes.
But that was in stark contrast to what Melissa’s family – who have always appreciated the Gazette’s coverage of the tragedy – told us.
Mr Keighley said: “We had been told by official sources Melissa’s name would be read out in Parliament. But, despite it being fourth on the list, it wasn’t.
“After everything we have been through, it felt like another kick in the teeth for us.
“We contacted Jess Phillips and we were told that it was our own MP who had asked her not to read it out.
“There has been a blunder here, and yet again it is our family that has to bear the brunt of it.
“We have no issues with the Gazette and it was us who contacted the paper to help us to try and get to the bottom as to why Melissa’s name was not read out.
“At no point have we been contacted about whether we wanted Melissa’s name read out or not.
“The bottom line is we were not asked. The MP should have checked with us first.”