Ollie Robinson's suspension by England for historic racist and sexist social media posts is "over the top", according to Oliver Dowden.
Sussex bowler Robinson took 7-101 as well as contributing 42 runs in his Test debut as England drew with New Zealand last week.
Shortly after the conclusion of the match at Lord's, it was confirmed by the ECB he had been "suspended from all international cricket pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation following historic tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013".
The messages, posted when Robinson was 18 and 19, were brought to light over the course of his international bow. The player said he was "ashamed".
Although Robinson could yet return to the England fold following the conclusion of the investigation, his suspension has provoked debate.
Dowden, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, suggested on Monday it was an excessive punishment.
"Ollie Robinson's tweets were offensive and wrong," Dowden wrote on his own Twitter page.
Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and wrong.— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) June 7, 2021
They are also a decade old and written by a teenager. The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised. The ECB has gone over the top by suspending him and should think again.
"They are also a decade old and written by a teenager. The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised.
"The ECB has gone over the top by suspending him and should think again."
The England team, including Robinson, had worn anti-discrimination T-shirts carrying messages regarding racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia and ageism ahead of play starting in the first Test last Wednesday.
Robinson said later that day: "On the biggest day of my career so far, I am embarrassed by the racist and sexist tweets that I posted over eight years ago, which have today become public.
"I want to make it clear that I'm not racist and I'm not sexist. I deeply regret my actions, and I am ashamed of making such remarks.
"I was thoughtless and irresponsible, and regardless of my state of mind at the time, my actions were inexcusable. Since that period, I have matured as a person and fully regret the tweets."