Local Conservative Test Valley Borough and Andover Town Councillor, Karen Hamilton, received two threatening letters late last year. Chilling and threatening in tone, it made Karen question the ethics and responsibilities of being a local councillor in order to help the community in which she lives.
Karen said, “Some councillors and members of the public hide behind the word ‘politics’ to behave in an unacceptably vile way towards other councillors and their families. Councillors are still humans, with feelings and families; we learn, give up our own time and understand how to make the local area a better place.”
Even more sinister is that one of the letters was hand-delivered to Karen’s home address and the other was posted directly to Karen’s home (the letters can be seen below). Both were unsigned, one with a clear handwriting style and the other clearly disguised. However, the most disturbing thing about the letters is the tone and content. The line: ‘It is time for all Conservatives to die’, takes political banter and debate to a different and unacceptable level.
The threat to Karen’s family in one of the letters states: ‘If you stay with them (Conservatives) we will trash you and your family’.
Karen said, “It’s clear that no consideration has been given to the impact this could have on my family. All it has done is to scare and intimidate us.”
The letters’ main aim appears to intimidate and cause trouble within Andover’s Conservative party, and specifically names Cllr David Drew and Cllr Phil North in both letters, suggesting that they are in some way attempting to ‘push Cllr Hamilton out’.
Speaking to Cllr Phil North about the letters, he said, “It seems that a particular individual or group are trying to intimidate councillors and candidates, as we edge towards the elections in May. I was shocked at the content of these letters, especially the specific threats made to family members. The allegations contained within them, about me, are patently not true. The Test Valley Conservatives go into the election as a united team, with a strong record of delivering efficient and effective services with one of the lowest council tax rates in the country. This election will be decided at the ballot box and not by intimidation tactics.”
Cllr David Drew said of the letters, “I was shocked when Karen Hamilton was sent not one but two horrible letters from what I can only assume are UKIP supporters. Their content is both nonsense and menacing. This sort of thing has absolutely no place in any constructive political debate.”
Karen has been a firm part of the town for her whole life. A difficult childhood made Karen a fighter, with a drive to succeed and become more than she was ever told she would be. Karen started to put back into the community by volunteering as a counsellor with Rape Crisis and Dale Trust, and taking part in raising millions of pounds for local charities.
Moving on to wanting to make a difference locally, Karen told Andover and Villages that it was never about ‘a party’, it was that she wanted to make a difference, and when looking at politics, and at what each party stood for, the Conservative party held true to her own beliefs. Karen said, “I have always been interested in people and my community, as it is important to know and understand where you live and where your children have a future.”
Andover & Villages asked Cllr Tony Hooke, leader of Hampshire UKIP, to ask for comment on the letters, to which he said, “No one from UKIP has sent any letters to any Conservatives in the area. They are absolutely not from UKIP.
“I find it absolutely disgusting that Karen Hamilton was sent these letters and I find it unacceptable that UKIP are being scurrilously blamed for the writing of them. UKIP and its members would not send a letter like this to Karen Hamilton or any one else, but if I did ever find out that anyone from UKIP was involved, I would march them to the police station myself.”
Cllr Hooke angrily continued, “The letters have been very cleverly written, using terms such as ‘We are at War’ which is something I have said in the past, it is clearly a set up to frame UKIP for something we have not done.
“I am disgusted by David Drew’s comment which is just an attempt to discredit UKIP. I think it is more likely that a party other than UKIP are to blame for these letters.”
The letters were handed to Hampshire Police in December, the delay in publishing this article is due to Karen and her husband Lee, suffering two close family bereavements in the last month.
Leaving the final word to Karen, she said, “I am proud to represent the Conservative party and will stand again for the Borough position in May 2015. I am proud how we have kept key services protected and utilised finances efficiently. I will not be standing for an Andover Town Council position in the May 2015 elections.
“I am not looking forward to the election campaign, as I believe, due to new influences within our town, it will not be a clean process. The letters sent to me prove this, and behaviours shown to me by personal verbal abuse and derogatory comments. I will continue to support the residents of Test Valley to the best of my ability, until they decide differently.
“I am not interested in the back-biting, or the ‘war’ ahead. Instead, I will be focused on my ward and the issues that need resolving.”
(Click for enlargement)
(Click for enlargement)
What do you think about the unpleasant side of politics? Leave a Comment Below!