Home Secretary told ‘go away, I’m not voting for you’ on Norwich doorstep by man who let Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stay at his home

Home Secretary Amber Rudd in Norwich visiting Conservative candidates Chloe Smith and Lana Hempsall.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd in Norwich visiting Conservative candidates Chloe Smith and Lana Hempsall. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Some carefully planned canvassing by the Home Secretary went awry when one Norwich voter demanded 'get off my doorstep – I am not voting for you'.

Vaughan Smith. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Vaughan Smith. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Amber Rudd was in the city as the Tories ramped up their bid to unseat Clive Lewis in Norwich South to take part in a stage-managed door-knocking exercise in Bishopgate.

But on one doorstep the Conservatives were left in no doubt about the welcome Ms Rudd would receive. As the Home Secretary, flanked by Norwich candidates Chloe Smith and Lana Hempsall, made her way down the street one man who had been handed a leaflet at his door ripped it up, threw the pieces in to the air and claimed the election was a 'cynical ploy to destroy any opposition in the UK'.

The Tories had not bargained on ringing the doorbell of Vaughan Smith – the former army officer, journalist and owner of the Frontline Club in London who allowed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to stay at his home Ellingham Hall near Bungay while he was seeking political asylum.

Speaking after the campaigners had quickly left his front garden Mr Smith said: 'There was a time when I would have voted Tory but not now. I don't agree with the election being called and I don't agree with Brexit either. It is a shambles. So I was happy to tell them to get lost.'

Bishopgate resident Linda Evans. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Bishopgate resident Linda Evans. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017


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Ms Rudd, who was quickly diverted from Mr Smith's front door by aides, had been in Norwich backing Mrs Hempsall's bid to take Norwich South where Mr Lewis has a majority of 7,634.

Asked by another – more friendly – local, Linda Evans, about homelessness in the city Ms Rudd said she had been in a meeting with members of the council and believed they were committed to tackling the issue.

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She also addressed concerns about whether Norfolk was a 'terror ready' saying: 'It is intelligence-led and much of that comes from the public. We should all be aware of the things around us and if we need to report something then call the terrorism hotline and do so.'

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