Mitchell, who is a veteran member of the Labor Party, likened U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer to "rapists" and has refused to apologize for the tweet, instead sending out other tweets to clarify his position.
Cameron dare not stop Pfizer because he dare not offend the US in any way.Roll up rapists— Austin Mitchell (@AVMitchell2010) May 14, 2014
"Naughty me. Substute [sic] rapaciousness before any more Physer [sic] defenders weigh in," is what Mitchell tweeted after the initial outcry to his earlier tweet.
Mitchell told the Guradian that he "should have used the word rapaciousness" instead of "rapists."
"If it needs explanation, I should have used the word rapaciousness," he said.
He added a third tweet saying that the there were multiple meanings of the word rape.
OED people everywhere decry the rape of rainforest: destruction, violation,vandalizing, ravaging, pillaging; plundering raiding desecration— Austin Mitchell (@AVMitchell2010) May 14, 2014
Conservative MP Claire Perry said she phoned Mitchell and said that while it was ok to get emotional about the proposed takeover of AstraZeneca by Pfizer, using rape as a corporate analogy was unacceptable.
"I am sure you will agree with me that such a comparison is deeply offensive as it trivialises sex attacks and the horrific and traumatising effects such attacks can have on victims.
"I am clear that these comments are totally unacceptable and that Austin Mitchell must withdraw what he has written immediately and issue a full, unreserved apology," she wrote.
The British Parliament has been holding hearings regarding a proposal from U.S.-based Pfizer to buy British company AstraZeneca, and has seen a lot of reaction from members as well as the general public. The government is having to weight the benefits of allowing foreign investment while protecting British interests.