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Angela Rayner condemns 'intimidation' of Labour's Rosie Duffield after she cancels hustings amid 'trolling and spite'

15 June 2024, 13:42

Angela Rayner and Rosie Duffield
Angela Rayner and Rosie Duffield. Picture: Getty Images

By Charlie Duffield

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has told LBC that the threats of violence received by Labour General Election candidate Rosie Duffield are "appalling".

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Duffield has announced that she will not be attending local hustings due to "constant trolling".

She is running for the Canterbury seat on July 4, and said the "extremely difficult decision" was made because the "actions of a few fixated individuals" have made her attendance "impossible".

Speaking to LBC, Ms Rayner said: "There have been threats of violence against all different politicians and it has to stop, that's not our democracy, we've got an opportunity on the 4th of July - whether you want to vote for Labour, vote for Conservative or whoever, that's how we do democracy.

"We don't do threats, we don't do violence, I've seen appalling scenes, rocks being thrown at other politicians, that's not OK and it's not OK for our families who have to see that then worry about our safety as well.

"If you want to see real change in the country you don't make politicians intimidated, you vote in the ballot box, we had D-Day not long ago, that's what people fought for, that's not about violence."

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When asked whether the Labour Party has shown Duffield enough support, Ms Rayner responded: "I hope so, you know, Rosie's valued as a member of our parliamentary Labour party but as I say, I think there should be no violence or intimidation to any candidates through our election process because that damages us all.

"I've had my fair share of threats, you might not like what I say but I'm representing my constituents and therefore I have a right to be able to do that and people have a right to vote against it if they don't like it and that's the same for any political party. No-one has the right to abuse and intimidate other candidates."

Ms Duffield told The Times earlier this week that she has spent £2,000 on bodyguards while campaigning.

In a statement on Friday, she said: "The constant trolling, spite and misrepresentation from certain people, having built up over a number of years and being pursued with a new vigour during this election, is now affecting my sense of security and wellbeing.

"The result is now that I feel unable to be focused on giving a clear presentation of the Labour Party's manifesto commitments."

A Labour Party spokesperson described the right to campaign as a "vital" aspect of British democracy.

"It is vital to our democracy that prospective parliamentary candidates are able to campaign freely," the spokesperson said.

"We completely condemn any intimidation tactics towards candidates of any party."

Rosie Duffield wins the pawlic vote with Paco, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at the Westminster Dog of the Year competition
Rosie Duffield wins the pawlic vote with Paco, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at the Westminster Dog of the Year competition. Picture: Getty Images

Ms Duffield, who believes that self-identification threatens women's rights to female-only spaces, previously claimed that she has been given the cold shoulder by Labour leadership over her views on trans issues.

Last month, Ms Duffield complained that Sir Keir Starmer offered her "no apology" when the two finally spoke after she told a whip she had not been talked to in two and a half years.

Sir Keir previously criticised the would-be MP's claim that "only women have a cervix", but later told ITV's Good Morning Britain that "biologically, she of course is right about that" and called for an end to "toxic" debates on gender.

The remarks drew the ire of Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who accused him of having a "brass neck".

Earlier this month an internet troll who posted "chilling" online messages threatening to kill Rowling and Ms Duffield was spared jail.

Glenn Mullen, 31, of Clyde Road, Manchester, uploaded audio clips in Gaelic threatening to kill Ms Rowling "with a big hammer" and said he was "going to see Rosie Duffield at the bar with a big gun", Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

A full list of candidates for the Canterbury constituency can be found here.

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