A Tory peer shocked the House of Lords on Thursday when she complained about Labour and Momentum activists abusing a Conservative candidate at the general election.
Baroness Jenkin of Kennington said the activists had yelled “f****** Tory c***” at the young woman candidate for Ealing Central and Acton.
It was believed to be the first use of the C-word in the Lords but sparked no immediate response from peers debating the role played by social media as news publishers.
Lady Jenkin, the wife of Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, held the case up as an example of abuse suffered by women when trying to stand for office.
She said: “During the election campaign in June the Ealing Central and Acton Conservative candidate was met daily outside her home by a large group of Momentum and Labour activists yelling at her.
“I quote – and please forgive the unparliamentary language and block your ears if you are sensitive or easily offended – yelling ‘f****** Tory c***’.
“This young woman has a young child. How can this be acceptable and how does this not deter other mothers from stepping up.
“Her activists and volunteers were routinely spat at. They told an Asian activist that she deserved to have her throat slit and be in the ground for being a Conservative and much more – especially on social media.”
Lady Jenkin, co-chair of Women2Win aiming to elect more Conservative women to Parliament, said standing for election and public office for whatever political party should be “recognised and celebrated as a noble, honourable and responsible action to take”.
Such abusive behaviour was fuelled by the “anonymity that social media platforms provide” and an example of increasing abuse and intimidation of candidates.
“Civil, criminal and electoral laws were broken yet no action was taken,” she said. “Online platforms have a responsibility to play their part in preventing this in future.”
Lady Jenkin said a recent inquiry showed that Conservative candidates and especially women were more likely to be the targets of intimidatory behaviour.
“This is worrying,” she said. “It is hard enough to get women to stand for office and all barriers need to be addressed.
“If they are not we will be left with a political culture that does not reflect the society it should represent with serious implications for our democracy.”