PPC withdraws because of abuse

Chris Nelson was first selected as our PPC for Kettering for the 2010 General Election. He was selected again for the forthcoming election. Sadly he has had to stand down because of the abuse he has received as a stammerer.

He spoke to STAMMA – a charity that supports people with a stammer. Chris says he is used to a certain level of abuse but was shocked at how personal and unpleasant it became once he stepped into public life. Clips of him stammering were circulated by political opponents , and some imitated him “as a joke”. He felt supported by his Lib Dem colleagues, but they probably weren’t aware of the accumulated effect over time of many minor comments made to and about him.

This is pretty shocking. Stammering is a disability and it is astonishing that people seem to be able to get away with bullying. Chris points out that you don’t see stammerers on television, while other forms of disability are being increasingly represented in the media.

President Joe Biden has a stammer and has been the butt of mocking comments himself, from Donald Trump (surprise) among others.

My heart goes out to Chris, and I hope he finds other ways of using his undoubted skills in the community. But we really do need people like him in our party and in Parliament.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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9 Comments

  • NYE Bevan fortunately managed to live with his stammer (apparently caused by a teacher forcing him to use his right hand rather than his natural left) and to go on to found our NHS……. appropriately in1948 during the reign of a monarch with a stammer, King George VI.

    Here’s wishing good fortune to Chris Nelson.

  • Mary Fulton 21st Mar '24 - 5:18pm

    My heart goes out to Chris – this is a complete disgrace. We need to show that the Liberal Democrats are different from other parties by persuading Chris to return as a PPC and then using him to front a Party Political Broadcast at the general election. If any in the Party would be concerned by the idea of Chris speaking on behalf of the Party, they are the problem.

  • David Evans 21st Mar '24 - 5:37pm

    Sadly politics can be a very dirty business and this shows how low some people will stoop. Whatever Chris does in the future, he knows that all Lib Dems are with him.

  • It is a disgrace that Chris could not continue as a PPC. I remember Andrew Duff being Chair of the Party in England and going on to be an MEP for 15 years. He has a stammer. I wonder if the party could have provide the right sort of support so Chris could have coped with the abuse.

  • Very, when people have to resort to this type of abuse it shows they have no valid counter argument. All the best to Chris.

  • Eddie Larkin 22nd Mar '24 - 9:11am

    It’s such a shame that because of bullying Chris has decided to stand down. Why I fully understand why I think we should never give in to such treatment. As already stated King George Vl had a stammer and he never really let him affected him. I thought that there were laws against abusing people with any kind of disabilities, why have people in this case of abuse against Chris not been prosecuted or reprimanded? Good look to Chris in the future.

  • David Garlick 22nd Mar '24 - 1:42pm

    Great guy and great candidate. Really sad and disappointed to learn about this. Wishing him well and hoping to see him in the not too distant future.

  • Jason Connor 23rd Mar '24 - 2:47pm

    Shouldn’t it be classed as a hate crime if it leads to abuse or is that too strong? There is a well known evening presenter on LBC who used to incessantly play audio of a former Conservative MP with a stammer. I found it so insulting and demeaning I no longer listen to their programme. Going by the nature of the audience, I didn’t think complaining would do any good.

  • Mr. Michael Bukola 24th Mar '24 - 8:28am

    This is just an appalling state of affairs. Intimidation and abuse should never be tolerated. The President of the United States has a stammer!

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