A Labour MP has offered to “sit down and talk” with those responsible for spray-painting a “gay slur” on his constituency office.
Luke Pollard said his office has been hit twice in the space of a fortnight and he has received abuse in the past for being an openly gay politician.
The Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport MP posted a picture on Twitter of his city centre office daubed in red paint with the words “Pollard is a pedo, report that,” which he said has now been cleared off by council workers.
My office was vandalised again this morning. There is no place for hate and abuse in #plymouth. As our city’s first openly gay MP I sometimes receive hate based on who I love but I know those who peddle hate do not speak for the vast, vast majority of our city. pic.twitter.com/oYGkte8mtO— Luke Pollard MP (@LukePollard) October 27, 2019
No place for hate
In a statement given to the PA news agency, Mr Pollard said: “There is no place for hate and abuse in Plymouth.
“When my office was vandalised last week we saw the most incredible and positive reaction from people in Plymouth.
“Lots of people dropped into the office and asked about me and my team’s safety and welfare.
“This latest attack and the common slur against gay people it includes does not speak for the people of Plymouth.
Sit down and talk
“My offer to sit down and talk with the individuals who vandalised my office still stands but they need to be aware that hate and abuse will not silence me in standing up for our city and its people.
“The persons who did this are clearly very angry about something. The brave thing to do now is have that conversation with me.”
Mr Pollard said the incident has been reported to the police.
There is no place for hate and abuse in our city, our politics or our country. That means we must all do our part to call it out but we must also seek to build bridges and not walls. That’s why I want to sit down with the person who vandalised my office to talk. #plymouth pic.twitter.com/gHCAVXHPYj— Luke Pollard MP (@LukePollard) October 27, 2019
Building bridges, not building walls
In a video posted on Twitter, Mr Pollard added: “To the individual who spray-painted graffiti on the front of my office I want to say to them, assuming they’re the same person that did it last week, sit down and let’s have a conversation.
“The way we get through this mess as a country is by building bridges, not building walls. So I want you to know the offer is sincere. Let’s sit down and talk about your concerns.
“If you’re angry enough to vandalise an office, let’s see if you’re brave enough to sit down and have a conversation.”
In a series of tweets, Mr Pollard thanked the police, the city council and his office staff for their support.
Shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler tweeted her support for Mr Pollard, saying: “In solidarity Luke.”