Plymouth's Johnny Mercer says this election will be his last after reporting vile abuse to police

Tory MP Johnny Mercer has reported a man to the police who subjected his three-year-old daughter to vile abuse. The veterans minister, who is defending the Moor View seat at Thursday’s election, said he’s been given a crime number and officers have spoken to the man who told his little girl: “Your dad’s a c***.”

Mr Mercer said such abuse was totally unacceptable and blamed people, including other politicians and celebrities, for using social media to throw insults. He said this is then amplified by members of the public who think it is OK to hurl abuse.

He said a different man also called him a “prat” while he was swimming in the Sound recently. He has also criticised people who vandalised his campaign posters this week.


Mr Mercer has now decided that, win or lose, he will be fighting his last election on Thursday. He told PlymouthLive that if he wins in Moor View he will spend his time fighting for the revamp of Derriford Hospital and then, when that is complete, call it a day.

He said: “I have always said I want to rebuild the hospital. That’s my legacy project. I want to get it done and give someone else a go.”

The 42-year-old, who served three tours of Afghanistan in the British Army, said the incident involving his daughter, which happened in Plymouth, was “shocking”. He said: “Someone looked at my daughter, who is three, and her little face and said: ‘Your dad’s a c***’. Who does that? That behaviour is totally unacceptable.

Devon and Cornwall police have been fantastic,” he added. “I reported that person and they went around and spoke to him.”

Earlier this month a man appeared in court charged with sending a “grossly offensive” email to Mr Mercer. In 2020, his wife, Felicity Cornelius-Mercer, was sent a dirty nappy in the post.

The politician said he suffered further abuse when a man called both he and his wife “prats’. Mr Mercer said the people who smashed and defaced his posters this week were also likely to be from outside the city. He said: “I don’t feel it is people from Plymouth.”

He added: “I went to swim in the Sound, there were people who had been bussed in to help Labour. Someone said ‘you’re a prat and your wife is a prat’. I said: ‘You’re not from Plymouth’. People from Plymouth don’t do that."

“The problem is all this nonsense whips up online,” he said, adding that it then moves into “the real world”. He said: “People have to understand that everything they say has an effect, even if it doesn’t have an effect on me.”

Mr Mercer said he has “put Plymouth before the Conservative Party, my career and anything else” but when he steps down from politics he will focus on his family. He said: “I will mow the grass and spend time with my kids and not have abuse for trying to serve my city.”

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