Ed Miliband has received the full works when it comes to personal jabs from the Conservative elite.
From butchering bacon sarnies to accusations of brotherly backstabbing, the Leader of the Opposition has had to develop a granite chin over the past few months.
While for some the personal nature of Westminster politics is more akin to a playground squabble than a professional bout, Croydon Central’s Tory candidate Gavin Barwell feels that anything with a legitimate political point is fair game.
The Tories have faced accusations of running a negative personal campaign against the Labour leader, but Mr Barwell defended the approach, and feels there is a genuine political basis to the points being made.
He said: “I’m not sure it’s a fair description of the campaign to say the Conservatives are using negative tactics.
“We are definitely making points about Ed Miliband I feel that are legitimate, yet ultimately what we’re choosing at this election is who we want to run the country for the next five years, and the choice is between David Cameron and Ed Miliband.
“Inevitably there are going to be positives reasons why we think Cameron is the right person but also a critique of why we think Miliband is not the right person.”
In a fiercely-fought election campaign, the Conservatives published a video which transformed the Labour leader into a puppet dancing to the tune of the SNP.
Mr Barwell supports the political message portrayed, and feels that the public response has legitimised the Conservative’s focus on a potential Labour-SNP coalition.
“You’re always in a political campaign going to say some things about your opponent but what is important are the points being made are substantive criticisms which have a basis of fact,” he said.
“The main test is how voters react to these things.
“If you say to a voter ‘you shouldn’t vote for Miliband because he can’t eat a bacon sandwich’, they’d laugh at you.
“But the SNP issue is something which crops up on the doorstep every time we go out canvassing.
“That’s something the voters really are worried about and they would regard it as a legitimate point to explore during the election campaign.
“I didn’t see the video as undignified at all.
“I think it was making a fair political point.”
However at the BBC election debate last night Ed Miliband ruled out a formal coalition with the SNP, he said he would ‘never compromise’ on the issues they disagree on.
Mr Barwell accused the Labour leader of turning the Conservatives into a ‘caricature’ of wealthy and privileged, and referred to Mr Miliband’s notorious double kitchen living arrangement to expose his ‘hypocrisy’.
He also offered his support to Michael Fallon after the Defence Secretary accused Mr Miliband of being a ‘backstabber’, and suggested the issue has proven to be a pertinent one in doorstep conversations.
“It’s often something the voters on the doorsteps refer to.
“I think people look at that and are surprised at why someone would stand against their own brother,” he added.
“For many people that’s not something they would do if they had a close relationship with their sibling.”
Image courtesy of the Conservative Party via YouTube, with thanks