A candidate for the upcoming Fife Council election says she will fight on despite being left “shaken” by verbal abuse and having her car spat on.
Councillor Mary Lockhart has spoken out after two separate incidents of abuse on the campaign trail over the last week.
The Scottish Labour candidate says a male driver began shouting abuse at her on the road and blocked her turning right, after recognising her as a politician.
Over the weekend the serving councillor also shared an image which appeared to show someone had spat on her car, with many condemning the vile act on social media.
Ms Lockhart told The Courier this is the first campaign where she has experienced abuse directly.
She said: “I haven’t experienced this before, even at the time of the referendum when lots of people were reporting those kinds of incidents.
“Certainly I don’t think anything ever felt as personal as this does. To have my car spat on and to be blocked at a junction by an angry man shouting in my face – that has never happened before.”
While the abuse has made the politician consider her safety, she has vowed not to let it affect her work.
It makes me realise that some people hate my party, or me, so much that they will debase themselves
She continued: “Spitting on my car windows will not stop me. It merely makes me realise that some people hate my party, or me, so much that they will debase themselves.
“When the man was shouting at me I didn’t get his number plate because I was shaking so much and I did ask, ‘is this worth it?’
“And of course the reason it is worth it, is that democracy is very important. These elections are the only mechanism people have to have a say in how they are governed.
Police launch investigation over incidents
Ms Lockhart – who is standing in Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty – also says she believes female politicians are more likely to face abuse than their male counterparts, having heard experiences from other council candidates.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We can confirm that reports have been made with regard to two separate incidents involving a councillor in Fife.
“One involved verbal abuse and the other an unoccupied car being spat on. Inquiries in to both incidents are continuing.”
Officers have encouraged any politicians concerned about their safety to get in touch.