A VOTER furious over door-to-door election materials has branded the city’s Conservatives ‘absolutely unprofessional’ for telling him ‘not to burst a blood vessel’ after he launched a rant over Facebook Messenger.
Brent Vine, a former soldier from North End, was also sent kisses and an animated picture of the pop star Taylor Swift in the party’s reply today.
The GIF, captioned “you need to calm down”, depicts the swimwear-clad superstar slouched in a rubber pool ring with a cocktail in her hand.
A Conservative spokesman said the tongue-in-cheek reply was fired back after Mr Vine, 54, penned an ‘aggressive' rant to Penny Mordaunt.
In it the married father-of-one told Ms Mordaunt, the Tory candidate for Portsmouth North, not to post election materials through his door.
He also slammed the party’s handling of the NHS and the police force, and said: ‘I wouldn't trust any of you chinless, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, seditious, pernicious, incompetent fools to walk my dog, let alone run a country.’
Mr Vine, formerly a Conservative voter, sent the angry message to the Portsmouth Conservatives Facebook page from an account named ‘El Che’ last week.
One reply from admins said: ‘Address noted Xxx.’
A later reply added: ‘Have a lovely day El Che. Don’t burst a blood vessel.
‘There’s still four weeks to go of this election, but should you do, please know that QA can provide excellent treatment because of Conservative increase to our excellent health service. FACT. Have a lovely day. X’.
Mr Vine, of Farlington Road, told The News he deemed the replies ‘absolutely unprofessional’.
‘What I sent was a rambling message, but it wasn't rude or anything,' he said.
‘I had expected to have a bit of a debate but I got a Taylor Swift GIF.
‘If it was my page, in the run-up to an election I would fight my corner – but it smacks of “we’re the Tories, we’re not taking you or any of the electorate seriously”.
‘Politics has been turned into an American circus and I can see comedy in this, but I didn't get a laugh out of it.’
A message on the Portsmouth Conservatives' Facebook page says it is being used by city Conservative councillors Robert New, Steve Wemyss and Luke Stubbs in the build-up to the general election on December 12.
It comes as the trio promote Ms Mordaunt and the Conservative candidate for Portsmouth South, former council leader Donna Jones.
Cllr New, who represents Copnor and is the chairman of the Portsmouth North Conservative Association, denied sending the replies to Mr Vine.
However he said: ‘If anonymous trolls wish to use fake Facebook profiles to send politically charged diatribes against our party, and are simply offended by a GIF response or a bit of gentle sarcasm to their aggressive rants, they should consider their actions before they take to the keyboard.
‘We receive many, many aggressive messages/trolling like this every week, often organised unpleasant campaigns against us and this is just another example of why people 'need to calm down'.’