An ex-Conservative leader has hit out after his local party association office was vandalised with spray paint saying “Tory cuts kill”.
Iain Duncan Smith, who is seeking re-election in Chingford and Woodford Green, in north-east London, posted pictures of the graffiti online, promising that it would not put him off campaigning and urging opposition candidates to condemn it.
The message about cuts was daubed across a door while a window has been brandished with “Tories out”.
His Labour opponent has criticised the paint and said she has also been a victim of “intimidation and threats”.
Mr Duncan Smith, who led the Tories between 2001 and 2003, described the vandals as “democracy-hating thugs”.
Unfortunately this is what we’ve walked into this morning. All opposition candidates must condemn such intimidation & criminal behaviour. I have news for these democracy-hating thugs: this will never stop us from campaigning & delivering a @Conservatives majority government 💙 pic.twitter.com/GQy8kx7fVq— Iain Duncan Smith (@MPIainDS) November 25, 2019
Labour candidate Dr Faiza Shaheen, who is hoping to win the seat that Mr Duncan Smith has held since it was created in 1997, said she too had been intimidated and “dodgy men” had followed her.
She also posted a picture of a Brexit Party sticker placed over one of her posters on the window of the constituency’s Labour association office.
Hi Iain, of course I condemn this. Everyone that comes to our canvassing knows that we go out with smiles & kindness.— Faiza Shaheen (@faizashaheen) November 25, 2019
We have also been subject to intimidation & threats - inc on the office and dodgy men following me. It’s not on.
Do please send your CCTV footage to the police https://t.co/67M7h58hZm pic.twitter.com/TKbLgLUGcX
MPs have spoken out about abuse and intimidation they have suffered during their time in politics.
Earlier this month, Labour’s Luke Pollard was targeted by graffiti for a second time, and he offered to sit down with the vandals to talk with them.
A number of MPs have decided to stand down in this election, with prominent politicians like Heidi Allen citing the abuse they have received as their main reason for calling time on their parliamentary careers.
Last week’s ITV debate between party leaders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn featured a handshake as a gesture to “improve the nature of debate in this country” when prompted by host Julie Etchingham.