The wife of Tory MP Johnny Mercer has revealed how he was branded a ‘child killer’ and the couple were sent a dirty nappy in the post over his opposition to free school meals.
Felicity Cornelius-Mercer, who recently became a mother for the third time, said they had received death threats and abusive messages to the family’s home near Launceston, Cornwall.
After receiving the nappy, she added: ‘We kind of thought it must be to do with the free school meals. That’s been within the top five I would say of the most abuse that we’ve received.
‘With Brexit people were telling to him to go hang himself, but in this one people are telling him that he is a child killer. This has been a really, really bad bad one as well. But they sent it to me which made me feel really violated.’
She said the nappy was the latest in a spate of incidents against her husband, the Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View.
Felicity Cornelius-Mercer, who recently became a mother for the third time, said Tory MP husband Johnny Mercer (pictured together) had received death threats after voting against free school meals
The package, which was addressed to his wife Felicity Cornelius-Mercer, was sent via one day ‘special delivery’ to the couple’s home
A label stuck on the outside of the diaper read: ‘Better check and see what your husband has been up to’
The nappy, which was sent in a tracked parcel, appeared to be covered in a brown excrement-coloured substance
Mrs Cornelius-Mercer said she thought the parcel the dirty nappy was in was a book she had been expecting in the post.
But as soon as she picked up the package, she became suspicious.
She said: ‘I was waiting for something that was recorded delivery. So I presumed it was the book. When I found it in the post box, I thought it couldn’t be the book because it was squishy.
‘And it was addressed to Mrs Mercer, most people put Mrs Cornelius-Mercer. It just made me a bit suspicious.
‘I took the parcel into the kitchen and said to Johnny, ‘this looks really weird’. I just had a weird feeling about it. And then I dug my finger in to open it, and it was a nappy with excrement in it.
‘It was a nappy that hadn’t been worn by a baby. I’m in the middle of nappies with our new baby, so I know nappies.
‘I think it’s kind of sinister. I thought, ‘is it someone that knows we’ve just had a baby?”
The couple recently welcomed their newborn daughter, Audrey, into the world.
Mrs Cornelius-Mercer continued: ‘I started to lift this thing out, and then the smell hit me. And I dropped it back in and dropped it on the floor.
Mr Mercer took to Twitter to share images of the soiled package and said he wanted people to be ‘aware of what getting involved in politics in really like’
Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View, Johnny Mercer, 39, has revealed his wife was sent a soiled nappy in the post
‘Luckily Johnny had twigged it so he jumped up, grabbed it and ran out and put it on the lawn outside.
‘Luckily he was home today. He’s going back to London tomorrow, which was really lucky that he was here with me. It really upset me. Because I was just thinking, ‘oh my god, I just opened someone else’s sh*t in my kitchen.
‘There was a label inside and I saw the word ‘husband’ and I knew straight away it was going to be something to do with Johnny’s job.
‘It’s the sort of thing you’d expect if you’ve got a picture of your husband with another woman in the post and someone wrote, ‘find out what your husband is up to.”
The former solider’s partner says she felt ‘dirty’ after receiving the horrible package.
‘I went to wash my hands and I couldn’t stop washing them because I just felt really dirty.
‘I didn’t want to pick up the baby because I felt really unpleasant experience and the fact someone has sent it to our home address.’
Mr Mercer was among the Tory MPs who voted down a Labour motion to extend free school meals, inspired by campaigning footballer Marcus Rashford.
Social media users immediately rushed to the platform to condemn the act, with one saying it was ‘truly horrible’
The MP for Plymouth Moor View posted a photograph of himself enjoying Dartmoor on Twitter on the Friday after the vote and said: ‘Really tough old week in politics. No-one said it would be easy. But when you get to come up here for your end-of-week clear-the-head session, it all seems ok.’
His comments sparked fury from some, with more than 1,200 people sharing and commenting on the post online.
But Mrs Cornelius-Mercer says this latest disgusting parcel feels ‘horrible’.
She said: ‘It’s usually people sending an email because it’s easy when someone wants to vent their anger, it’s an instantaneous way. So that’s the sort of norm, know it sounds weird, but we’ve kind of gotten used to that, it’s been five years now.
‘But this felt really personal and like someone who knew we’d had a baby, it was addressed to me and it came to my home address.
‘It’s just awful, it just feels horrible. Plus sending bodily fluids in the middle of a pandemic.
‘Most people are really nice, lovely and normal and are just horrified when something like this happens. But I think the debates have been so polarised over the last few years that maybe people do need to see these sorts of stuff.
‘Ultimately people who are just trying to do a good job and do what they think is right have to put up with this. No matter whether you vote left or right, these people are just trying to get on with their job and do what they think is right, and they have to put up with this. It’s just not on.’
She continued: ‘The argument that when you go into politics you know what you’re signing up for, and if you’re going to be a public figure, you’ve got to expect all of this and I accept that argument.
‘And we do, we put up with differing opinions. We put up with people calling my husband a child killer and telling us to hang ourselves, we put up with all of that.
‘But I think when it becomes something physical that you can hold in your hands, then it’s a different, it crosses the line somehow.’
Mr Mercer also told the Mail how his wife, Felicity, had faced intimidation from a Labour supporter who yelled at her as they campaigned in Plymouth during the 2017 election campaign
Following the stomach-churning images, social media users took to Twitter to condemn the act.
Good Morning Britain presenter Anne Alexander wrote: ‘Good grief, this is appalling.’
While another user wrote: ‘This is just unacceptable. Sorry to see this, Johnny. Whilst we may disagree, this is not the way anyone should air their grievances – civil debate is the only way.’
Another added: ‘Absolutely disgusting what some people will stoop to.’
Elsewhere another person commented: ‘This is truly horrible. I’m sorry you and your wife have to deal with this sort of thing. There’s no excuse for it at all.’
Mr Mercer and his family have faced significant abuse online.
In one bizarre incident, the MP even publicly accused someone of insinuating his wife was a ‘prostitute’ in the comments section of his local newspaper.
Responding to a Twitter user who asked him about his appearance on Channel 4’s Celebrity Hunted, he replied: ‘I’ll give you once chance at honesty. Did you insinuate my wife was a prostitute on the Plymouth Herald’s comment section?’
The strange reply caused the newspaper to trend on line, and caught the attention of local journalist.
Editor of Plymouth Live, Edd Moore told MailOnline at the time: ‘He’s an increasingly high profile figure in politics who has always been vocal about local issues.
‘He’s not new to facing criticism and offensive comments online but clearly an insinuation of one’s wife is a high-level troll comment and he’s reacted to that.
‘We’re shocked that we’ve been brought into it bu we take out responsibly as moderators seriously and unfortunately we have to moderate similar comments on an hourly basis – it’s the dark side of the internet sadly.’
Mr Mercer also told the Mail how his wife, Felicity, had faced intimidation from a Labour supporter who yelled at her as they campaigned in Plymouth during the 2017 election campaign.
Mr Mercer, a former army officer, was first elected to the House of Commons as the MP for Plymouth Moor View in 2015.
He faced a backlash last month for tweeting about having a ‘tough week’ after voting against footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals over the school holidays until Easter 2021.
The motion to offer food aid to vulnerable families over the school holidays was defeated in the House of Commons by 322 votes to 261.
Following the vote the Tory MP shared an image of himself in Dartmoor alongside the message: ‘Really tough old week in politics.
‘No-one said it would be easy. But when you get to come up here for your end-of-week clear-the-head session, it all seems ok. #dartmoor.’
However the school meals defeat sparked a fierce backlash and in October, more than 740,000 people signed a petition to end the subsidised meals for MP.
The latest petition, which was launched on 38 Degrees, said: ‘MPs have voted against extending free school meals into the holidays for the poorest children in the UK, in the middle of a pandemic.
‘They should under no circumstances benefit from free or subsidised meals out of public funds themselves.’
MailOnline has contacted Mr Mercer for comment.