Somerset

General election 2019: 'Extremism' row over signs in Somerset

Lib Dem sign fire Image copyright Keith Wheatley
Image caption Two Liberal Democrat signs in Wellington have been damaged by fire, with one being completely destroyed

Concerns over political "extremism" in Somerset have been raised after campaign signs were targeted ahead of the General Election.

Liberal Democract campaigner Keith Wheatley said he had "never seen such anger and hostility".

Incidents include of two the party's signs being set alight in Wellington.

Meanwhile, the Conservative party candidate in Yeovil, Marcus Fysh, tweeted a photograph appearing to show one his signs ripped into pieces.

One of the Liberal Democrat signs to be destroyed was attached to a gatepost outside a woman's home.

"It was three yards from her front door. She was understandably distressed," Mr Wheatley said.

"There is a big difference between political rivalry and outright extremism that potentially threatens lives. I'm horrified and outraged."

'Quite dangerous'

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said they were investigating.

Wellington is in the Taunton Deane constituency, where the Liberal Democrat candidate is Gideon Amos.

Labour's Liam Canham, Independent John Hunt and Conservative Rebecca Pow are the other candidates.

Mr Wheatley added: "It isn't an isolated incident. Most people are fine but a minority are angry, hostile and quite dangerous."

Image copyright Marcus Fysh/Twitter
Image caption A damaged poster promoting Conservative candidate in the Yeovil constituency Marcus Fysh

Faye Purbrick, a Conservative county councillor for Yeovil South said some party supporters were concerned about displaying signs.

"Over the years we've seen lots of vandalism," Mrs Purbick said.

"People are trying to get their message out there, but there seems to be this perception that it is acceptable to rubbish their views or destroy their signs."

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