A group of Labour canvassers knocking on doors in Preston Park were confronted by Caroline Lucas’s husband in the street this weekend.
Richard Savage came out of the Green candidate’s family house to speak to the Labour group on Sunday evening, which included city leader Warren Morgan and volunteers.
They said they were left shocked and shaken by the exchange, in which they say Mr Savage told them Labour candidate Purna Sen should not be standing in Brighton Pavilion against his wife.
But Ms Lucas’s team has denied he said that, but was instead taking the opportunity to challenge the “aggressive online behaviour” of Labour activists as they passed his front door.
Mr Morgan said on Twitter: “Out with a magnificent team of seven in Preston Park when something quite extraordinary happened.
“The husband of the Green candidate and former MP Caroline Lucas came out of his house and started to shout abuse at us!
“‘WHY ARE YOU STANDING AGAINST THE BEST MP THIS COUNTRY HAS EVER HAD? YOU ARE POISONOUS!’ As if no-one should dare contesting her seat.
“Terrible behaviour – we shall be making a complaint and asking for an apology. One of our volunteers was quite shaken.
“Elections are stressful, but no-one should stand in the street and shout abuse at members of other parties.”
The Labour team that day also included Preston Park council candidates Julie Cattell and Neil Schofield, as well as activist Frances Bill.
A spokeswoman for Purna Sen’s campaign Purna4Pavilion said: “We are aware of the situation at a Preston Park campaigning drive and that some people were quite distressed as the situation unfolded.
“We are concerned that volunteers could be dissuaded from joining the campaign.
“Campaigning is a healthy part of democracy and participants should be treated in a respectful manner.”
Green Party Target Constituencies Campaign Manager, Adam McGibbon, said: “We completely refute these allegations. The Labour Party are trying to score cheap political points in an election and we advise voters to be aware.
“Richard, as Caroline’s husband, was right to take the opportunity to challenge the aggressive online behaviour of some of the Labour Party activists who were present, as we believe voters deserve a positive election campaign.”
No complaint has been made to Sussex Police regarding the incident, and Brighton and Hove News understands Labour has dropped the matter.
Labour tauntings and personal abuse(see some twitter accounts in particular) would try the patience of a saint. I have been really shocked by the sneering and cynical streetfighter brutality of Labour’s below-the-belt willingness to be really, really nasty, to even resort to school-bully type behaviour that is something to fear if those particular individuals get into power.
They are all about the combat, attract knuckle-cracking types (female the worst) and show nothing (on twitter at least)to suggest they are problem-solvers, resident-focussed. They just want the arena they can use to sink their salivating fangs into juicy opponents.
Warren Morgan and Gill Mitchell have worked so hard over the last 4 years to make Labour look mature, disciplined and fit to govern. Was it all a big act?
One second the Green Party worker says it did not happen and in the next breath says that Mr Savage was right! So his verbal assault did happen.
Labour, both locally and nationally, has been unremittingly positive in this campaign unlike the dissembling of the Green Party and the postively nasty campaign run by the Tories.
The Labour Party idea of what to do and call campaigning is my conception of what the urban gang warfare mindset is about. It is disturbing. Done online it is imature trolling and intimidation. And any old bit of mudslinging will do.
How many of them are trolling away under assumed names behind news articles? A few without any doubt! So depressing.
Black propagandists and little better.
If Richard Savage did behave like this it was inexcusable. Equally inexcusable was the behaviour of a group of labour activists who sat behind me at the NHS debate at the Friends Centre. They shouted and heckled making it impossible to hear what Caroline and some other candidates were saying. Everyone has a right to speak and listen.
Throughout modern political history local election meetings have always been rumbustious affairs. One of the strengths of the British system of democracy is testing whether a politician can stand up to a hostile audience who may be vocal in their opposition. Competent politicians, such as Harold Wilson, Gordon Brown, and John Major, all demonstrated that they could get the better of a crowd. They demonstrated they had the guts to stand and defend their political positions.
If one wishes to see really nasty campaigning in the UK at the moment, even going beyond what the Tories have been handing out, go to Scotland or drop in on the various forums and see what vitriol, personal abuse, bullying, and positively thuggish behaviour, that is being dished out to Labour Party supporters by SNP activists.
There is no place for warzone campaigning in a civilised society that wishes to address its problems in a mature, cool-headed way.
Mr. Crask, you are wrong to consider that the violence of the Labour party’s verbal, twitter and other behaviour in this city constitutes legitimate campaigning or testing of the worth of others – which includes a lot of ugly lying and black propaganda that Hitler would perhaps have cackled at with some glee and trolling under pseudonyms behind Argus articles.
You want that kind of life; take up cagefighting. I’m not prepared to vote for it.
I am Still waiting for Brighton and Hove Labour to start canvassing on their own policies rather than urging me to vote tactically against a Tory Government, or criticising BHCC. Difficult to tell BHLabour from a regular UKIP troll, but on my doorstep!
Surprised by Labour and the way they can be rude at times and how Warren often is loading the bullets for others to fire.