Labour Candidate Withdraws from Canterbury Hustings Over Safety Concerns

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Labour Candidate Withdraws from Canterbury Hustings Over Safety Concerns

Rosie Duffield, Labour’s candidate for the Canterbury seat in Kent, has announced her withdrawal from a planned hustings event, citing concerns for her personal safety. Ms. Duffield, who has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and female-only spaces, has had a contentious relationship with Labour leadership and has frequently faced significant online harassment.

Labour Candidate Withdraws From Canterbury Hustings Over Safety Concerns

In a statement posted on social media on Friday, Ms Duffield highlighted the impact of ongoing hostility on her wellbeing and ability to campaign effectively. “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,” she wrote. “The result is now that I feel unable to be focused on giving a clear presentation of the Labour Party’s manifesto commitments.”

Ms. Duffield previously made headlines for spending £2,000 on bodyguards during her campaign, underscoring the intensity of the threats she faces.

The Labour Party responded to Ms. Duffield’s decision with a statement emphasising the importance of a safe and open campaign environment for all candidates. “It is vital to our democracy that prospective parliamentary candidates are able to campaign freely,” a spokesperson said. “We completely condemn any intimidation tactics towards candidates of any party.”

The upcoming election in Canterbury will see Ms. Duffield running against a diverse array of candidates. The full list includes:

– Luke Buchanan-Hodgman, Social Democratic Party

– Louise Harvey-Quirke, Conservative and Unionist Party

– Bridget Porter, Reform UK

– Henry Stanton, Green Party

– Russ Timpson, Liberal Democrats

Ms. Duffield’s decision to pull out of the hustings reflects broader concerns about the safety and mental health of political candidates in a polarised and increasingly hostile political climate. As the election approaches, the situation underscores the need for greater protection and support for those running for public office.

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