For clarity, Owl has NEVER attacked Mr Swire’s family but HAS called into question his employment of his wife as his parliamentary assistant on a salary of £35,000 per year.
The employment of family members is also frowned upon by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which plans to stop this practice forthwith:
“East Devon constituents have responded after the district’s MP Hugo Swire took to twitter to complain of the ‘vile’ abuse he and his family had received on social media during the campaign. Hugo Swire was re-elected to Parliament as East Devon’s MP on Thursday after securing 29,306 votes – 4,000 more than he received when he was victorious in 2015.
Independent challenger Claire Wright came second with 21,270 votes as she cut his majority from 12,000 to 8,000.
But no sooner had Mr Swire, who has been the MP for the area since 2001, had his victory confirmed, he launched an attack on Ms Wright and her supporters, claiming he had been “lied to and libelled” by her “vile” fans on social media in an interview with the BBC.
He also accused both The East Devon Alliance and East Devon Watch of being ‘vile’
He also took to twitter and after announcing he was deeply honoured to be re-elected as the MP, said he was taking time out from twitter to drain the swamp of vile comments from Claire Wright’s not so charming followers.
Mr Swire told the BBC that his camp “fight it very straight”.
“We don’t answer back and perhaps we made a mistake not doing that on social media,” he said.
“I and my family have been lied to and actually very often libelled in a constant stream of abuse on Twitter and on some websites.
“There’s something called East Devon Watch which is again tied in with the East Devon Alliance – they’re all the same sort of people and frankly it’s time to call them out now. It’s no good them hiding behind their nice little smiles and pretending they are independent. These are not, they are vile, some of these people.”
Claire Wright has said that she and her team where not behind any of the ‘vile’ abuse that he received during the campaign.
But, Paul Arnott, chairman of the East Devon Alliance said he had no idea what Mr Swire, a former foreign minister, was on about, and said he was a ‘graceless winner’.
Mr Arnott said: “The poor man clearly needed a good night’s sleep. We”ve all heard of bad losers but graceless winners are a rarer species. We can”t pick the bones out of his troubled blurt but as Chairman of the East Devon Alliance I can say that he hasn’t the slightest clue what he is bleating about.”
East Devon Watch – represented by an anonymous Owl, runs a blog which claims to ‘shine a light into the darkest corners of East Devon’. It also responded to Mr Swire’s comments.
They posted: “East Devon Watch has never made any secret of supporting (but not being part of or supported by) East Devon Alliance. EDW has never hidden behind a nice little smile – there is nothing to smile about with the politics of East Devon. Indeed, crying would be more appropriate!
“There is no pretending to be independent – EDW is indeed indepdent and proud of it.
“EDW will continue to hold the politics and politicians of East Devon to the light and looks forward to doing so for many, many years.”
As of Sunday morning, 43 people had replied to his tweet. Of them, only two had come out in support of Mr Swire while the other 41 were a mixture of personal abuse, voters appalled at how the area’s MP views his constituents, and comments saying that he does not engage with his constituents.
@UmLittlePlums said: “We are still your constituents and you’d do well to remind yourself of that. The result aside, you are deeply unpopular.”
Kelly Hammond said: “You really need to stop insulting the very people you have been elected to represent. May not have voted for you, but you’re still their MP.”
Linda Bowen said: “Wow… seriously? There’s a reason these CONSTITUENTS didn’t vote for you. Perhaps you should ask yourself why rather than insult them.”
Francis Clark said: “Probably no worse than the bile spewed by the Tory rags. The right wing press lies constantly. Why no opprobrium from you then?”
Joe Hellier-Brown said: “Just wanted to congratulate you for at least having the decency to OPENLY slate the people you represent. Fair play!”
Claire Whiter said: “Don’t worry we’ll be watching you now. Don’t think you can get away with being useless any more.”
He did get some comments in support, with Michael Smith saying: Sorry to hear this. Campaigns should be fought on all fronts but always with respect. Didn’t vote for you but congratulations,” while Liam Chick said: “Well done Hugo. East-Devon is now stable.”
In a panel interview the Exeter University politics expert Professor Jason Reifler said that a robust discourse was part of the British political system.
“Politics is not for the faint-hearted, and if you are going to get into it, particularly in the national system, you have to weather some attacks,” he said.
“It’s never good to go after someone’s family or say something about a candidate but those things do happen. Far more distressing are attacks on the democratic process. People don’t like sore losers, they also don’t like sore winners, this would be a good opportunity to show the stereotypical British stiff upper lip.”
Former Lib Dem Devon County Councillor Des Hannon said: “I think attacks on people’s families are absolutely out whichever way they go, that’s just not acceptable but anything that’s at Hugo, frankly he pretty much incited himself by his attacks on Claire Wright and also as part of an absolutely entrenched establishment in East Devon which has assumed it has a right to rule permanently there with no flexibility and Claire is feeding off that – the more he protests this the better it will be for her.”