An MP has described how she was subjected to a “mindless” and “vindictive attack” on the day of her husband’s funeral.
Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine said she was accused of breaking the pause in campaigning during the General Election following the Manchester terror attack when she was instead burying her husband.
The Edinburgh West MP told the Commons that she initially put the comment by a “known activist from an opposing party” down to a “genuine mistake or misunderstanding”, before realising it was an attempt to “gain political advantage with no respect whatsoever for the personal impact or the truth”.
She said she accepted that as a politician she put herself in the “firing line”, but said “intimidation” and “abuse” should not be part of the job.
“On a day when I was coping not just with my own grief but with that of my daughter, I had to put up with a mindless, vindictive attack.”
During a debate on the abuse and intimidation of candidates and the public, she said: “I was surprised: my husband’s death had been widely reported not least by the newspaper for which he’d worked, but the abuse was retweeted, explanations were demanded and there were more abusive comments.
“That also was a surprise as I’d had many supportive messages from all political parties.
“So partly to avoid embarrassment for my abuser when he realised his mistake, I replied and I explained.”
But Ms Jardine said the abuse then escalated, adding: “And that was when I realised that for many of those now ploughing in with comments - all that mattered was the opportunity to appear clever with sarcastic comments or put someone else down, or sadly in this case to use intimidation to gain political advantage.
“What they had was a public forum where they could say whatever they liked with impunity.”
Ms Jardine has since deleted her Twitter account.