A CAMPAIGN poster for a Tory candidate has had the words ‘millionaire barrister – no thanks’ scrawled on to it.
The billboard is promoting the Fareham candidate Suella Fernandes, who hopes to take over from MP Mark Hoban at the election next month.
It is not known who defaced the poster, which is on land at Knowle, but fellow Conservatives have come to Ms Fernandes’ defence.
Fareham’s council leader Sean Woodward said: ‘It’s criminal damage and it is not in line with democracy.
‘People have the right to display election posters on their land and this is criminal damage and apart from that it is wrong in every way.’
It comes after Ms Fernandes was criticised by Ukip’s local candidate for Waterloo ward in Havant Tom Davies.
He said that he was ‘saddened’ to think that the Tories had picked Ms Fernandes ‘probably down to gender and ethnicity rather than her actual abilities’.
The 34-year-old is a barrister who was born in London – her mother is originally from Mauritius and her father is from Kenya.
Mr Davies has denied having anything to do with the graffiti.
He said: ‘Whether Ms Fernandes is actually a millionaire is almost irrelevant, the sentiment remains the same.
‘This is how people feel, and they’re not happy about it.
‘When I speak to residents they ask, rhetorically, “So what does Suella have to do with Fareham then?”.’
Ms Fernandes said she was ‘deeply upset’ by the lies being spread about her.
She said: ‘I’m disappointed that such personal attacks are being made and the facts they have are wrong.
‘I live in Locks Heath. I’ve stopped representing people in court and if elected I’ll be working full-time as an MP.’
She said the two directorships relate to a free school, Michaela Community School in Wembley, which she helped set up and a residents’ association.
The defaced posters have sparked debate among residents.
Jason Mudge said: ‘I wouldn’t condone defacing election posters but it shows the anger out there with parachuting some well-paid London lawyer into a safe seat.
‘It’s arrogant behaviour and an insult to the people of Fareham, and I’m obviously not alone with those thoughts.’
Ms Fernandes is standing for election against Malcolm Jones for Ukip, Miles Grindey for the Greens, Stuart Rose for Labour, Matthew Winnington for the Lib Dems and independents Harvey Hines and Nick Gregory.