The Green Party candidate for Coventry South at the last General Election, Aimee Challenor, has given evidence to a Cabinet inquiry into the intimidation of Parliamentary Candidates.
Speaking at a meeting of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Challenor described the abuse she faced during the election, and outlined how politics needs to change.
“I was targeted because I was an openly transgender person in politics, I received tweets or direct messages calling me a ‘delusional child abusing freak’.
“I had people telling me to kill myself, comments saying ‘zero debate needed, just point and laugh hysterically. This **** needs bullying’.”
“It is quite clear from the most recent general election in the UK, as well as conduct during other recent elections around the world, that politics is becoming more toxic. Intimidation from activists, members, and indeed other candidates is growing.
“More can, and should, be done by all parties to tackle this behaviour and offer support to candidates.”
Challenor set out a number of recommendations to the inquiry, calling for concerted action from all political parties and suggesting that social media companies do more to offer support for candidates on the receiving end of vicious personal abuse.
Challenor’s testimony follows similar accounts from other individuals across the political divide. Earlier this year, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbott detailed some of the abuse she had received, stating: “I’ve had people tweeting that I should be hung if ‘they could find a tree big enough to take the fat bitch’s weight’.
“There was an EDL affiliated Twitter account #BurnDianeAbbott, I’ve had rape threats, described as a pathetic, useless fat black, piece of shit, ugly fat black bitch and n*****.
The inquiry was launched by Theresa May in July, amid allegations of a toxic environment surrounding public life for parliamentary candidates, politicians and campaigners.
A full transcript of Aimee Challenor’s evidence to the Committee on Standards in Public Life can be found here.