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 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.
I post an update about my friend Mike Gapes on my Facebook page and this is reply. The bile Mike has to put up with. pic.twitter.com/MSHWcFCUfp— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) December 1, 2015
@wesstreeting It makes me ashamed we're in the same party as him. Certainly not what Labour Party stands for.
Hope Mike is on the mend.— Alan Olive (@AlanOlive1) December 1, 2015
Crikey! https://t.co/VZUfqWzyk2— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) December 1, 2015
A Labour MP is in hospital after emergency op for chest pains
A fellow MP posts an updateDecember 1, 2015
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.
.@Linda_Marric Oh dear indeed. MPs with such thin skin & blubbery personalities should stay off social media. And out of politics.— Eli Naylor (@Elithebarraboy) December 1, 2015
.@nomorecakepls Maybe learn to read thicko? At no point does it say ‘I am glad he has had emergency surgery’. Idiotic argument.— Eli Naylor (@Elithebarraboy) December 1, 2015
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.
.@TiaKinay 'Rosa Luxenburg' Twitter account has just 3 followers, and could be a fake account designed to discredit Corbyn.— David Osland (@David__Osland) December 1, 2015
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.
@MikeGapes do you think victims of discriminate bombing make the distinction? happy their family was killed by mistake rather than design?— Mr Nonsense to you (@xtravgntnonsens) November 27, 2015
Hey @MikeGapes how does it feel to take your country to war, purely as a political point scoring exercise against a leader you despise?— The Awakend (@the_awakend) November 27, 2015
I wouldn't know. Ps we are already bombing Da'esh in Iraq. And parliament voted for that in 2014 https://t.co/9iSejsLhyQ— Mike Gapes (@MikeGapes) November 27, 2015
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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