UK

Syria Air Strikes: Sick Labour MP Mike Gapes Targeted By 'Odious Trolls' Over Bombing Stance

02/12/2015 09:37 GMT | Updated 02/12/2015 10:59 GMT

The bitter internal battle within the Labour party over Syria airstrikes has hit a new low after Mike Gapes was targeted by so-called Jeremy Corbyn supporters, who are celebrating the veteran MP's heart problem because it might stop him voting for the bombing.

Gapes, who had emergency surgery after falling ill on Friday night, has been branded a "stinking Red Tory" by trolls on social media because he supports David Cameron's plans to join strikes against the Islamic State.

The Ilford South MP is said to be recovering well after experiencing "chest pains", but while on his sick bed the 63-year-old has come under attack from what his neighbouring MP Wes Streeting called "odious trolls".

mike gapes

Labour MP Mike Gapes has been trolled over his plans to back air strikes in Syria

Mike Hemmings wrote: "Maybe it's better if he resigns as MP then, after all Gapes is just another #RedTory. At least he wont be there to vote for air strikes on Syria."

Gapes was also attacked on Twitter over his plans to defy Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Not everyone saw the problem with attacking Gapes over Syria. One combative Twitter user, Eli Naylor, said the message did not amount to a "personal attack", then went on to abuse other Twitter users who challenged him.

Rozalia Luxenburg wrote on Twitter that she hoped more Labour MPs who plan to vote with David Cameron are struck down with chest pains.

She called the rebels #StinkingRedTories and wrote: "Let's hope a few more end up like Mike Gapes."

Luxenburg is following just three people and has only sent 45 tweets, leading some to believe her Twitter account was simply set-up to voice opinions over the Syria debate.

According to the MailOnline another troll was asked by a Gapes supporter if it was "too much to ask to wish him a speedy recovery".

She replied: "Would it be too much to ask if he abstained on Cameron's welfare reforms?"

The majority of people have been wishing Gapes well, but Ilford North MP Streeting fears Labour is being overrun by left-wing "bullies".

He told MailOnline: "It shows how nasty some parts of the Labour party has become when they wish someone ill.

"I had to block one guy today who said: "I wish Mike a speedy recovery so he is well enough for the deselection process". It's unbelievable.

"I think the overwhelming majority of Labour would wish Mike a speedy recovery but these is a rotten streak running through the party at the moment, and these messages show what's going on behind the scenes."

Streeting said these people had joined the party "despite not believing what it stands for" and after spending years campaigning "against us".

In the days before Gapes was taken to hospital he thoughtfully replied to criticisim over backing airstrikes on Twitter.

Gapes who has represented the Essex constituency of Ilford South since 1992, is seen as a Blairite who has been critical of Corbyn's leadership.

Away from politics, Gapes has also had a difficult time. In 2012 his teenage daughter Rebecca was found dead in her university bedroom after suffering a heart attack aged just 19.

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