Kit Malthouse, the incumbent member of parliament for North West Hampshire which covers Andover and Whitchurch, has spoken to the Advertiser tonight.

Speaking from John Hanson School where the count is taking place, Mr Malthouse discussed the campaign and the level of online abuse wagered at candidates.

On the campaign, Mr Malthouse said: 

“It’s been a good clean campaign where all the candidates have stuck to the issues. No personal attacks, which has been refreshing, and while there have been a number of issues that have been raised it has been all about Brexit here.

"The constituents voted to leave the EU and I get the sense from talking to people on the doorsteps and in the town centre they want to get it over they line and they were going to vote accordingly."

On whether he has suffered any verbal abuse: 

“A bit, not in the street. Certainly online we have had a fair number of abusive comments. It’s been worse this time than in previous elections. 2015 and 2017 didn’t get much at all but this time there has been a bit.”

He added: “I think there’s been a great frustration with politics in the last couple of years for sure. I think there are just some unpleasant people out there and for some reason social media is a bit like road rage, people think they are anonymous and it’s therefore not the same as screaming abuse at someone in the street.

“But it’s water off a duck’s back for me, I just block them.”

On the December weather and its potential effect on voter turnout and the campaign in general: 

“Certainly the story was polling stations were busy, and certainly they were when I went this morning. And there were reports of polling stations having queues to get in. But it does feel to me that turnout is higher than normal.

“I think I always enjoy campaigns as you meet a hell of a lot of people and the vast, vast majority are curious and interested and informed and friendly.

“It’s quite a big step to put yourself out there in the public and it’s always a great refresher when you realise the vast majority of people are pleased to see you, happy that you knocked on their door and willing to engage with you. There’s something about it that restores your faith in humanity, which is sometimes dented by social media. Plus you get a lot of exercise.

“I think there’s been less opportunity to canvas because in the evening and in the dark people are less keen to open their doors, and also the campaign was quite short and quite quick. But the main thing is it’s just been cold and miserable. I don’t think my coat was dry at any time.”

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