Tory by-election candidate Maria Hutchings has stood by her comments that people who riot should be shot with paintball guns.
During the London riots in 2011, Hutchings said police should be issued with weapons allowing them to mark looters with paint.
According to the Daily Echo a press aide for Hutchings tried to shut down a conversation with one of its reporters when they asked the candidate about the comments. But Hutchings was eager to stand by her suggestion.
She told the paper: “Look, I’m a straight talker. For people who go out and riot why isn’t a common sense approach to be able to target them by firing paint or whatever? Not into their eyes, but you know, they were the people doing it.”
The Tories are locked in a tight battle with the Lib Dems to win the Eastleigh seat vacated by Chris Huhne after he pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
But Hutchings was widely criticised on Thursday morning after she failed to appear on a BBC Radio 5 Live panel alongside her rival candidates.
The Conservative Party said the offer came too late as she had already agreed to campaign in the constituency with the prime minister today.
However her opponents claim the BBC request was made a week ago and suggested the party was trying to hide her from view due to her views.
Despite being radio, the BBC decided to physically empty chair Hutchings during the debate. Labour candidate John O'Farrell, Lib Dem Mike Thornton and Ukip's Diane James did take part.
The Lib Dem's gleefully seized on her absence, publishing a new campaign poster mocking her for not turning up.
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