Nadine Dorries has clashed with Tory leadership hopeful Kemi Badenoch after the flagship Online Safety Bill was delayed.
Badenoch - who has made it to the second round of voting in the race to become prime minister - said the legislation “is in no fit state to become law”.
MPs on the right of the Tory Party believe the bill will give the state powers to police the internet and is an attack on free speech.
Responding to the news that the legislation will not become law before the new PM is in place, Badenoch tweeted: “If I’m elected Prime Minister I will ensure the bill doesn’t overreach. We should not be legislating for hurt feelings.”
That prompted an angry response from Dorries, who as culture secretary is responsible for piloting the bill through the Commons.
Responding to another Twitter user, Dorries said: “Encouraging others to take their own life is what comes under that definition. It’s a huge problem, especially with young people. You really define that as ‘hurt feelings?’
A DCMS source blamed Labour’s attempt to hold a vote of confidence in the government for the delay to the Online Safety Bill.
The source told HuffPost UK: “Parliamentary time got cut because of Labour’s pointless motion.
“It was either the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill or the second day of our report stage that got delayed to autumn to allow Labour to have time to play politics.
“The Online Safety Bill lost out.”