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Matt Hancock reports Labour activists to police after he claimed they 'hurled abuse' at campaign manager at Newmarket hustings




Newmarket's Conservative candidate Matt Hancock has reported Labour activists to the police after he claimed they "hurled abuse" at his campaign manager last night.

After a hustings at the town's Catholic Church Hall, in Fred Archer Way, Labour members allegedly started to berate campaign manager Bobby Bennett, 'making her fell physically threatened'.

Mr Hancock, who is fighting to retain his West Suffolk seat on December 12, has now written to Labour rival Claire Unwin demanding she apologise and to expel any Labour party members involved.

Matt Hancock at the start of his campaign in Newmarket (23455310)
Matt Hancock at the start of his campaign in Newmarket (23455310)

The health secretary, who has represented the town since 2010, said he had reported last night's meeting to Suffolk Police.

In an open letter sent to Mrs Unwin, he said the incident followed on from "deeply aggressive behaviour" at a hustings event he attended last week in Haverhill.

Claire Unwin, pictured at Newmarket Day Centre (23455334)
Claire Unwin, pictured at Newmarket Day Centre (23455334)

"Set aside the disgusting sight of Labour activists shouting down opposition to antisemitism, this orchestrated intimidation was completely unacceptable and potentially illegal. It upset many members of the public who had attended to hear the debate," he said.

"You then refused to apologise or take any steps to distance yourself from the abuse. As a result I didn't come to the Newmarket hustings because I expected similarly orchestrated behaviour. What then happened was even worse.

"After the debate, a number of Labour activists rounded on my campaign manager, Bobby Bennett, and hurled abuse at her at very close quarters, recording this on a phone, and making Bobby feel physically threatened.

"You and the other candidates just sat on your hands, and by your repeated refusal to intervene you are complicit in this intimidation.

"The sort of intimidation is totally unacceptable in politics, and to find it orchestrated in West Suffolk is so sad."

He added: "I once again call on you to reject your offensive brand of politics, to expel the Labour party members responsible, and to apologise to me, to Bobby, and to the voters of West Suffolk who frankly deserve better."

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: "Police have been made aware of an incident at the Newmarket Hustings event held on Wednesday evening. After careful consideration advice has been given to the reporting person."

A Labour spokesperson said: “The Newmarket hustings meeting was good natured and well supported event - Matt Hancock did not attend.

“Mr Hancock was openly criticised for his failure to attend. As Mr Hancock was absent, we are perplexed as to the origins or the veracity of his claims.

“Mr Hancock has many critics, not all are Labour activists”.


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