South Lanarkshire Tory election candidate quits race after ‘vicious’ online threats


A South Lanarkshire Tory candidate has pulled out of the running for the council elections in May after being subjected to “vicious sectarian and threatening messages”.

Sitting Avondale councilor Graeme Campbell slammed what he described as “nationalist trolls” who targeted Lewis McMillan with vile messages within minutes of him introducing the candidate on Facebook.

Graeme Campbell, who will not stand in the May elections after being subjected to a campaign of terror himself, said there was no hiding his “utter disappointment” in Avondale.

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Councillor Campbell’s home has been targeted three times by firebomb and acid attacks – believed to be linked to organized crime in the area – with the most recent terrifying incident last year destroying his Strathaven home while he and wife, Fiona, slept inside. Thankfully, they both escaped uninjured.

He wrote: “Within minutes of me introducing you to Lewis last week, the nationalist trolls went into action with vicious sectarian and even potentially threatening messages.

“Add this to an unacceptable level of what I can only describe as other sectarian targeting of Lewis and his partner, he has made the decision to withdraw as the Conservative candidate for Avondale in May’s local elections.

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“There are people who cannot accept that we can work together despite what’s happening in Westminster or Holyrood.

“It seems to be a sport for some who repeatedly hide behind their computers and smart phones, attacking councilors and councilor candidates, and all because of the color of their rosette.

“So, I don’t blame Lewis from walking away. Who in their right mind would do a job that could get you killed for just standing up in support of the community you love?”

Speaking about his own terrifying experience, Councilor Campbell went on: “After two firebomb attacks, an acid attack and being made homeless, I’m done supporting a community where sadly there is an element of such unacceptably poor behavior from all demographics.

“I have never told you this before but despite being brought up in Northern Ireland throughout that province’s worst history, I was never personally subject to sectarian abuse until a public meeting in Strathaven about 10 years ago.

“From that to messages on the Strathaven Facebook pages wishing that my family and I were dead, to people posting outright lies about my personal life, there is no way on this planet I can persuade Lewis to change his mind.”

He added: “To conclude – I’d like to wish Lewis, his partner and family all the very best. I’d also like to wish every candidate standing in May’s local election the best of luck.

“The role of a councilor isn’t easy; especially in a ward like Avondale. No one does it for the money or vanity.

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“Every councilor I’ve ever met stands up for a community because they believe that they can do better than the councilor(s) that have gone before them – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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