Jeremy Corbyn was last night accused of ‘inciting’ vicious Labour trolls who targeted the heavily pregnant wife of a Tory MP.
The woman was subjected to vile online abuse by a Left-wing hate mob after her husband clashed with the Labour leader in the Commons.
One fanatic told her, ‘hope your baby dies’ while the MP received death threats that are now being investigated by police.
Jeremy Corbyn said a Tory MP should be ‘called out’ after heckling him during a debate on the elderly, after which Labour ministers named him on Twitter
One of the politician’s thousands of abusers on Twitter and Facebook threatened to ‘spear’ him while he was out jogging and film the attack. Another vowed to ‘put your head on a spike’.
The Left-wing hate mob also told his wife: ‘Your husband is a c***.’
The attacks on the MP’s wife, who is in her mid-40s and due to give birth for the first time in the New Year, reduced her to floods of tears.
Meanwhile, the MP questioned the conduct of Mr Corbyn, 68, after their Commons encounter. The Labour leader demanded the Tory be ‘called out’ for heckling him over his age, with Mr Corbyn jabbing his finger in anger as he did so.
Corbyn’s attack was seized on by Labour MPs who attacked the Tory on Twitter and provided his Twitter handle, setting off the social media tsunami.
The Mail on Sunday has, in agreement with the MP, chosen not to name him or his wife to protect mother and child from further abuse.
Theresa May last night called for a halt to social media abuse and other threatening behaviour in politics, by all sides.
Speaking in response to the ‘hope your baby dies’ attack, and menacing posts against Conservative Brexit rebels, she told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Threats of violence and intimidation are unacceptable and have no place in our politics.
‘Everybody should be treated with tolerance, decency and respect.’
The online abuse was sparked after the MP made a jibe at Mr Corbyn in the Commons chamber after the Labour leader attacked the Government’s treatment of the elderly. The Tory MP shouted: ‘That’s you!’
A furious Mr Corbyn claimed the MP should be ‘called out’ for his ‘uncaring’ attitude.
After being named the MP received a barrage of vile abuse from trolls who said they hoped his unborn child died
Mr Corbyn pointed at the MP during the exchange, which was broadcast live on television, and fellow Labour MPs joined in, shouting at the Tory heckler. One Labour MP shouted: ‘Ageist!’
However, the Conservative MP was not referred to by name by Mr Corbyn, was not rebuked by the Speaker, and his identity remained a mystery until Labour MPs named him on Twitter shortly afterwards.
That was the spark for a torrent of abuse from thousands of Left-wing activists. At first, the threats were targeted solely at the MP. Then his wife came under attack on her open Facebook page after the trolls discovered references to her by the MP.
Deeply distressed, she made her Facebook page private, but continued to receive abusive messages.
One abuser spotted the MP’s social media posts announcing his and his wife’s joy at learning they are expecting their first child, then told him on Facebook: ‘Hope your baby dies.’
The politician told The Mail on Sunday: ‘All I did was to make a harmless joke. It was clearly aimed at Mr Corbyn, not elderly people in need.’
And the MP turned the tables on Mr Corbyn, saying that he should be ‘called out’ for the ‘disgusting’ abuse of his wife.
‘Labour, in effect, incited this. I am not saying that was the intention but if Mr Corbyn hadn’t said I should be ‘called out’ and Labour MPs hadn’t blown a bit of routine parliamentary banter out of all proportion, it wouldn’t have happened.’
He blamed Momentum, the Left-wing pressure group, for escalating the abuse. He said: ‘The Momentum hate mob saw it as a green light. Mr Corbyn must stop pretending he has no responsibility for this menace.
‘It has been deeply upsetting and disturbing. My wife’s pregnancy came as a wonderful surprise: we’re both in our 40s and it is our first child.
‘But it makes it all the more sensitive, because we are desperately hoping that everything goes well and it was already an emotional time for her.
‘When the death threats and the message about ‘hope your baby dies’ came up, she spent the weekend in floods of tears. The post had a ‘#JC4PM’ [Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister] hashtag on it.
‘Her and the baby’s health is all that matters. It is beyond belief that Mr Corbyn’s supporters could act in such a sick manner. Nearly all the messages had pro-Corbyn markers on them or the Labour red rose emblem.
‘What is so chilling is that this evil is co-ordinated. They found out my wife is pregnant from a recent Facebook post I did praising our local hospital when we went for a scan.
‘They tracked down where I go jogging, and found my wife’s Facebook page then posted abusive messages on it. When she closed it, they sent her offensive messages.’
The MP said his wife spent hours in tears after being bombarded with abuse even after she swapped her Facebook page to private
The MP, known for promoting women in politics and campaigning against drug abuse, said that within three days of being targeted by Labour MPs over his brief Commons spat with Mr Corbyn he had received thousands of abusive messages, mainly on Twitter.
They included ten violent threats, of which three were death threats. Police are investigating five of the messages.
One troll discussed how they would lie in wait when he went jogging in order to ‘spear’ him and ‘record it on an iPhone’. Another called him a ‘paedophile’.
Many of the messages came from the Labour strongholds Liverpool and Manchester.
The couple’s horrific ordeal was revealed days after the official ethics watchdog said party leaders must do more to stop such abuse by groups such as Momentum.
The Committee On Standards in Public Life said that 68 per cent of Tory candidates were victims of social media abuse in the June Election, including threats of violence, sexual assault and damage to property, compared to 36 per cent of Labour candidates .
Last night, a spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: ‘Jeremy has always condemned abuse and personal attacks, whether online, in the Commons chamber or in the media.’
‘Mob-mentum’: The shock troops
Q What is Momentum and how large is it?
A Momentum is the Left-wing group set up just after Jeremy Corbyn became leader. Acting as his loyal ‘Praetorian guard’ they have moved Labour to the Left, sidelining Blairites. It was founded by privately educated, far-Left activist Jon Lansman and now claims 31,000 members and 200,000 supporters.
Q How do they operate?
A They have been hugely successful in using social media to mobilise supporters and change the face of political campaigning. But they have also been dubbed ‘mob-mentum’ for their hostile online activity designed to prise out centrists.
Q What sort of things do they do?
A In Brighton, a Momentum campaigner posted a video showing the faces of three Labour councillors superimposed on to dancing Orthodox Jews.
Some of the worst abuse by Momentum has been aimed at female Labour MPs. In the run-up to a Commons vote on bombing raids on Syria, its activists defaced the constituency office of moderate Walthamstow Labour MP Stella Creasy. Someone wrote on her Facebook page: ‘Enjoy sleeping when the first child dies. Maybe you can keep one of their limbs as a souvenir’.
Addressing a Momentum conference last month, academic Paolo Gerbaudo called on the Left to ‘hate again’, but the group says in its code of ethics that it advocates ‘fair, honest debate focused on policies, not personal attacks or harassment’.
Q Who runs Momentum?
A James Schneider, educated at Winchester and Oxford, oversaw Momentum’s expansion before moving into Corbyn’s private office.
Hard-Left activist Jackie Walker, Momentum’s first vice-chairman, was sacked last year after footage emerged of her criticising Holocaust Memorial Day at a Labour Party anti-Semitism training session.