Cam­paigner quits bid for po­lit­i­cal seat af­ter death threat ‘Vile com­ments’ prompt mum to stand down

North Wales Weekly News - - NEWS -

AMATERNITY cam­paigner has aban­doned her bid for po­lit­i­cal of­fice only days af­ter she an­nounced it, fol­low­ing “vile” abuse and a death threat she re­ceived through a cam­paign Face­book page.

Mar­sha Davis, 36, who founded neona­tal char­ity Lit­tle Mir­a­cles UK in 2012 af­ter the pre­ma­ture birth of her daugh­ter Eleanor, said she re­ceived the mes­sages af­ter declar­ing her in­ten­tion to com­pete for a Con­ser­va­tive seat in next year’s Welsh Assem­bly elec­tions.

She only de­clared her in­ter­est on Mon­day last week, but was dev­as­tated by some of the abuse she re­ceived in pri­vate mes­sages on the “Save doc­torled ma­ter­nity ser­vices North Wales” Face­book page.

The mother-of-six said fight­ing Betsi Cad­wal­adr’s plan to re­move ob­stet­ri­cled ma­ter­nity ser­vices from Ys­byty Glan Cl­wyd was al­ways her fo­cus, but she even thought about giv­ing that up af­ter re­ceiv­ing the hate mail, which she re­fused to re­peat.

“To be hon­est, I ex­pected some back­lash,” said Mar­sha, who joined with for­mer Daily Post editor Mark Thomas in March to hand over a 15,000-sig­na­ture pe­ti­tion to the Welsh Gov­ern­ment.

“Peo­ple were telling me to stand and I was con­sid­er­ing go­ing in­de­pen­dent. I was never go­ing to win re­gard­less.

“My big­gest thing was the com­ments. I had lots of nice com­ments but there were some re­ally vile com­ments.

“I ac­tu­ally re­ceived a death threat. I am a re­ally strong per­son, but I spent a cou­ple of days up­set and in tears.”

Mar­sha says she chose the Con­ser­va­tives be­cause she was fac­ing pres­sure to make a de­ci­sion be­fore the se­lec­tion dead­line.

“It wasn’t some­thing I thought I could ever do in the first place any­way,” she said.

“Peo­ple were push­ing me to do it and ob­vi­ously peo­ple in the cam­paign groups were try­ing to get me on board.

“Last week was hard. There was a dead­line and I had to make a de­ci­sion whether I was go­ing to stand or not, be­cause with­out me go­ing through the se­lec­tion panel it was a no-go.

“So I had to bite the bullet and say: ‘okay let’s do it’, but my heart wasn’t in it. I was think­ing maybe it’s what’s needed to make a dif­fer­ence.”

She be­lieves the at­ti­tude shown by some peo­ple to­wards her de­ci­sion sums up some of the prob­lems fac­ing pol­i­tics in this coun­try and added: “There’s not one party that’s per­fect. The rea­son we have got a mixed bag is so we can op­pose de­ci­sions. I want those peo­ple who put those hor­ri­ble mes­sages to know it’s not ac­cept­able.”

De­spite be­ing shaken by the ex­pe­ri­ence, she says she and her cam­paign­ers will now fight to save ma­ter­nity ser­vices harder than ever.

“There’s not a chance the health board are go­ing to get away with it,” she said.

“The whole public con­sul­ta­tion isn’t fair. There are all the tac­tics in place to make sure we lose it.”

Mar­sha Davis, founder of char­ity Lit­tle Mir­a­cles, is step­ping out of the race to be Tory Assem­bly can­di­date for the Vale of Cl­wyd af­ter ‘vile’ mes­sages and a death threat

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