A NORTH-EAST candidate for The Conservative Party has vowed to "continue" his campaign despite being the victim of a verbal and physical assault. 

Last week, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Stockton South, Matt Vickers was out canvassing in Ingleby Barwick near Stockton when the alleged assault took place.

Ahead of the General Election, Mr Vickers along with his supporters was at an address when a member of the public "screamed and shouted" foul language and proceeded to grab Mr Vickers, preventing him from leaving.

Mr Vickers told The Northern Echo: "We have had everything thrown at us really, we have had all sorts of verbal abuse but the majority of people are delighted to see that you're out knocking on doors.

"I was out knocking on someone's door, when someone who is clearly a supporter of another party came out, and it ended up being a physical assault."

The Northern Echo:

Mr Vickers, who has since reported the incident to police, said he 'agreed to disagree' with the perpetrator when the alleged incident turned physical.

In a statement Mr Vickers, who is standing against The Labour Party's Dr Paul Williams, The Brexit Party's John Prescot and Lib Dem's Brendan Michael, said "violence and intimidation" on any candidate had no place in politics.

Condemning the 'attack on democracy', he said: "We live in a democracy, and that democracy relies on open, honest and frank debate about the important issues before people cast their votes.

The Northern Echo:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Matt Vickers at a tour of Tetley Tea in Eaglescliffe

"I have been out and about across Stockton South, speaking to thousands and thousands of people, most of whom have been nothing but polite, even if they are of a different political affiliation.

"But sadly my team have suffered smears, name calling, verbal abuse and now physical intimidation.

“We’ve got volunteers aged from teens to their 80s and I’m determined to ensure people can get involved in this way without fear.

"I’m disappointed that I’ve had to report such an incident and am sure that the police will deal properly with it.

“I totally condemn this type of behaviour, and will not let it deter me as we approach the final strait of the election campaign.

"I will be on the doorsteps, fighting on to get my message out to the people of Stockton South.”

He told The Northern Echo: "This isn't going to make me give up, I am not going to allow them to undermine the democratic process."

Last year Mr Vickers, who is from Stockton and has worked locally in retail across Teesside, announced he had been selected as Stockton South's Conservative candidate.

The mid-30s hopeful previously stood as the candidate to be Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner in 2016.

  • The Northern Echo has contacted Cleveland Police